Virgin Australia formally launches regional airline business, reveals repainted A320

Virgin Australia staff with the newly repainted former Skywest A320.

Following the successful acquisition of Skywest Airlines last month, Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti have officially launched Virgin Australia Regional Airlines. Based in Western Australia, the new operation will have 32 aircraft operating more than 800 services a week to 41 destinations.

The first three aircraft  – an Airbus A320, a Fokker 50 and Fokker 100 – to be rebranded as Virgin Australia were officially unveiled in Perth.

Borghetti described the launch as momentous for the airline, tourism and the travel industry.

“This country has one of the most geographically dispersed populations in the world and reliable, affordable air services are vital to the growth of regional Australia.

“In 2010, we articulated a strategy to become the airline of choice for all travellers in Australia. Since then, we have changed the competitive landscape in many ways and today marks our next major leap forward,” he added.

The rebranded Fokker 100.

“By integrating Skywest Airlines into the Virgin Australia Group, we unlock new opportunities to grow our services to regional Australia and significantly increase our charter presence in the high-growth fly-in-fly-out markets.

“By building a Perth-based operation and workforce, we will continue to invest in local resources, expertise and infrastructure”, Borghetti said.


  1. Ron says

    Bit of a patchwork fleet. I wonder if they have any plans to standardise it a little?

  2. Damian says

    Surprises me they are keeping the A320s….would have thought it easier to absorb some 737s from the parent. The F50s are to be phased out over time and replaced by the ATR. What will be interesting is whether the embraers end up going across at some stage down the track?

  3. louievandeoorst says

    There is no big news.With big words they say…Virgin Australia formally launches new regional Airline.Well, if that is new then they kill old Airline first…with one difference old SkyWest was Australian…that one is not anymore.
    As a costumers we have no one aircraft more on option than before but much less to choice.

  4. Ben says

    They’ll likely just steady the ship first with these two acquisitions before making any changes.

    The arguement for the A320 though is Tiger and their previously announced intention to expand to 35 of the type.

    Over time you will probably find the ATR will replace the F50 (maybe through an ATR42 variant if the 72 is deemed too large for the sectors) and the E190 will replace the F100 on the airline runs leaving them for strictly FIFO duties where J class isn’t a factor.

    Don’t forget that the ‘other mob’ uses a mix of 737’s and A320 family for their medium jets. Outside of the 787 buy they haven’t really done anything in concert between QF and JQ, although JQ does operate A332’s that came from QF.

  5. WA Jon says

    The Skywest A320 is AFAIK contracted out to Fortescue minerals so I doubt it will be flying trans Tasmin, also it has no IFE or business class cabin. ( It also a bit smelly)

  6. Jared says

    @ WA JON, Skywest no longer operates the Fortescue Minerals Contract, They Now Use Qantas, and have done for approx 1 year

  7. Dafydd says

    I remember when I was a DJ cabin crew, we did a return flight to cloud break on behalf of Skywest in a 737-700 we had all Skywest menus and kid packs on our virgin blue aircraft.

  8. Mick says

    I doubt the F100’s will be replaced, they are brilliant for WA mining FLIFO. The Embraer is shocking in hot temps, it can only take approx 10 pax when the air temperature reaches 45*C or great where as the F100 can take a full boat load at the same temperature. So far there is no suitable aircraft that can beat the hot and dusty performance of the F100s, even though they are bit old and crusty