Virgin Blue to Add New ATR Aircraft to Boost Regional Strategy

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Monday, 28 February 2011

Virgin Blue is to add up to 18 fuel efficient ATR72 turboprop aircraft to its fleet as part of its recently announced alliance with Skywest airlines.

 The first four of the ATR Turboprop 68 seater aircraft are scheduled to be introduced from the middle of 2011, with a further four to arrive next year.

The ATR is the best aircraft to operate on regional routes throughout Australia. It provides the greatest fuel efficiency and passenger comfort for this category of aircraft. The ATR will form the foundation of our regional network plans, with the first six ATRs replacing our current Embraer E170 fleet and the additional aircraft flying to new regional destinations, said Virgin Blue Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, John Borghetti.

The alliance will see both airlines codeshare on a number of sectors and allow Velocity members to earn and redeem points.

ATR Chief Executive Officer Mr. Filippo Bagnato said, The ATR72, with its low operating cost, proven high reliability and superior passenger comfort, is ideally suited for the shorter regional routes in Australia and to fulfill Virgin Blue's growth in these markets.

Under the wet lease arrangement, Skywest will provide the technical and cabin crew and source the maintenance provider of the fleet.

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