Sun, Oct 23, 2011
First Of The Aircraft To Operate In Australia
The first regularly-scheduled flight for one of Virgin
Australia's new ATR-72-500 turboprops took place Tuesday, also
marking the airline's first flight from Brisbane to the regional
industrial city of Gladstone. The flight also marked a milestone
for ATR Regional Aircraft, which added Australia to an
already-extensive list of Asia-Pacific markets where ATR 72-500
Perth-based Skywest will operate the new ATR services on behalf
of Virgin Australia, with a fleet of eight 68-seat ATR 72 aircraft.
The airline has orders for 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, Virgin will operate the ATRs on a
range of other regional or short haul primary routes, including
Brisbane-Port Macquarie and Sydney-Port Macquarie, commencing this
Wednesday, 19 October. This will be followed by routes including
Sydney-Canberra and another new market, Brisbane - Emerald.
"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," said Filippo Bagnato,
Chief Executive Officer of ATR. "The ATR 72 is that aircraft,
offering both the lowest cost and the greenest option in the
regional segment, while delivering a spacious, quiet cabin
environment for passengers. We are delighted that Virgin Australia
and Skywest have selected our aircraft for the next step in
Virgin's growth strategy."
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