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Australias Skywest Receives Fourth ATR 72-500

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Australias Skywest Airlines has taken delivery of a fourth new ATR 72-500 turboprop airliner, which it will operate for Virgin Australia on a growing network of regional routes.

Skywest is now preparing to receive four next-generation ATR 72-600 aircraft, the first of which it will introduce onto Virgin Australia services from the second half of 2012.

Since mid-October this year, when the first two ATR 72-500s were delivered, Virgin Australia has used the aircraft to commence service on two new routes - Brisbane-Port Macquarie and Brisbane-Gladstone.

Virgin Australia also is using the new ATR 72-500s on the existing Sydney-Port Macquarie and Sydney-Canberra routes, and has announced plans to launch flights soon on another new route, between Brisbane and the regional centre of Emerald, in central Queensland.

With these aircraft, Virgin Australia very quickly is opening services on new routes and operating more economically in existing markets, by using the ATRs to replace larger, less-efficient regional jets, said Guillaume Huertas, ATRs Regional Sales Director Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Islands. At 68 seats, the ATR 72-500s enable Virgin Australia to commence service in markets which cannot at this time support larger jet aircraft, as well as to provide more frequent flights in small-medium size markets ... The new ATR 72-600s will deliver even greater levels of efficiency, with an all-new glass cockpit and improved technology for pilots, as well as new cabins for passengers including larger overhead luggage bins.

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