Virgin Blue and Skywest form Strategic Alliance

The Virgin Blue Group and Perth-based Skywest Airlines have signed a ten-year strategic alliance to provide regional services across Australia.  SkyWest will fly up to 18 new Virgin Blue-branded turboprops – the exact type is due to be announced shortly – to existing and new destinations.  The first turboprop is scheduled to be delivered in mid-2011 with four aircraft due to be in service before the end of the year.
SkyWest chairman, Jeff Chatfield also indicated that his company would lease the same type of turboprop to replace its current fleet of eight Fokker 50s after it signed an exclusive five-year deal with the Western Australian government to operate a series of marginal routes.  Both airlines will also extend their codeshare agreement on each other’s respective networks and collaborate on the important and growing resource industry charter market.
John Borghetti, Virgin Blue’s CEO, said that by partnering with SkyWest, the carrier is “investing in building a substantial network in regional Australia and strengthening its domestic network.”