Posted on: 17 October 2011 by Mark Howells
Virgin Australia’s new ATR 72-500 services, operated by Skywest, have begun with the inaugural flight from Brisbane to the regional industrial city of Gladstone.
Skywest will have a fleet of eight 68-seat ATR 72, four of the series 500 model – three of which have now been delivered – and four of the next-generation series 600 model.
Skywest also has options to acquire another five ATR 72-600s, all of which it will operate for Virgin.
In addition to Gladstone, the ATRs will be operated on routes including Brisbane–Port Macquarie, Sydney–Port Macquarie, Sydney–Canberra and another new market, Brisbane–Emerald.
Filippo Bagnato, chief executive officer of ATR, commented, “Virgin Australia needed an aircraft type which would provide an economic entry into new regional routes, and cost-effective expansion of a range of existing markets. The ATR 72 is that aircraft. We are delighted that Virgin Australia and Skywest have selected our aircraft for the next step in Virgin’s growth strategy.”