VIRGIN BLUE TO LEASE UP TO 18 NEW AIRCRAFT IN ALLIANCE WITH SKYWEST

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP January 10, 2011 10:13

VIRGIN BLUE TO LEASE UP TO 18 NEW AIRCRAFT IN ALLIANCE WITH SKYWEST

Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd says it will add turbo prop aircraft to its fleet and expand to regional areas through a 10-year strategic alliance with the Western Australia-based Skywest Airlines. Virgin Blue announced today that it would lease up to 18 new turbo prop aircraft, which would be decked out in airline’s distinctive red livery, but operated by Skywest. The first aircraft is due in mid-2011 and four were expected to be in the air by the end of the year, allowing Virgin Blue to fly to new destinations in regional Australia currently not economical for jet operations.

Virgin Blue chief executive John Borghetti said the new turbo props would be used across Australia. “We believe we could bring significant competition and therefore lower pricing for regional communities and also of course enhance the tourism potential of these places,” Mr Borghetti said on Monday. “Whilst Skywest is a Western Australian operator today, obviously they will be operating out of the east coast because the primary purpose of these aircraft is the east coast.”

The airline did not say which routes and what type of aircraft would be leased, but Mr Borghetti said those details would be known within a few months.

“The leasing arrangement means that Skywest will not be exposed to the capital investment of owning the aircraft and will be a service provider and code-share partner,” Skywest chairman Jeff Chatfield said in the Virgin Blue statement.

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP January 10, 2011 10:13
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