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Virgin Australia Inaugurates ATR 72-500 Services

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Send to Friend ASIA Travel Tips.com Latest Travel News Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Virgin Australia has launched commercial services with the first of its new ATR 72-500 turboprop airliners.

The inaugural flight of Virgin Australia’s first turboprop - and Australia’s first ATR 72 – was also the airline’s first flight from Brisbane to the regional industrial city of Gladstone.

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 2011.

This will be followed by routes including Sydney-Canberra and another new market, Brisbane-Emerald.

Filippo Bagnato, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, said, “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, 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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