Skywest Airlines (Australia) (Perth) today (May 7) became Virgin Australia Regional Airlines.
The company issued this statement:
Virgin Australia today (May 7) unveiled its new regional airline operation with Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti in Perth.
Following the acquisition of Skywest Airlines last month, today marked the launch of the newly branded airline. The first two aircraft to be rebranded as ‘Virgin Australia’ were officially unveiled (Fokker 100 VH-FSQ and Fokker 50 VH-FNA), representing the airline’s commitment to continued investment and new growth opportunities for regional and charter travel in Australia.
The entity known as Virgin Australia Regional Airlines will be based in Perth, Western Australia and the operation will now have 32 aircraft operating over 800 services per week to 41 different destinations.
The old Skywest Airlines route map (above).
Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti described it as a momentous day for the airline, tourism and the travel industry.
“This country has one of the most geographically dispersed populations in the world and reliable, affordable air services are vital to the growth of regional Australia.
“In 2010, we articulated a strategy to become the airline of choice for all travellers in Australia. Since then, we have changed the competitive landscape in many ways and today marks our next major leap forward.
“By integrating Skywest Airlines into the Virgin Australia Group, we unlock new opportunities to grow our services to regional Australia and significantly increase our charter presence in the high growth fly-in-fly-out markets.
“Western Australia is one of the fastest growing aviation markets and a very important part of our strategy. We have made significant investment over the past two years with the introduction of our internationally configured Airbus A330 aircraft on services between the East and West Coast, increased frequencies to the resource-rich Pilbara region and established a large crew base in Perth.
“By building a Perth-based operation and workforce, we will continue to invest in local resources, expertise and infrastructure”, Mr Borghetti said.
Sir Richard Branson said: “It is fantastic what John and the team have done over the last couple of years, completely repositioning the airline with the introduction of the Virgin Australia brand and its brilliant product and service. Now I am thrilled to see him focusing on other market segments including regional and charter services where I know they will deliver.
“This is the start of the next ground-breaking chapter for the Virgin Australia Group and an exciting time for the airline”, Sir Richard said.
Copyright Photo: Micheil Keegan. All other images and photos from Skywest. The Skywest Airlines brand is now being retired. All of the aircraft are gradually being repainted into the Virgin Australia brand.
The faces of Skywest Airlines.
Video: Skywest Airlines of Australia fades into the sunset:
New combined Virgin Australia domestic route map: