Virgin Australia to Sell Old SkyWest Planes

21st Oct 2015

Virgin Australia issued a statement today in which it said it will decommission and dispose of eight Fokker 50 planes in has sometimes in the first half of the following year.

The Australian carrier said it made the decision to get rid of its F50 fleet it inherited when it took over SkyWest in 2013 due to a 'negative outlook, for the operations.

Virgin will now turn its attention toward upgrading its Fokker 100 fleet. The airline said it acquired four more F100s, which makes the fleet now number 14 aircraft of this type.

Decision May Affect VA's Service to Mining Companies

The airline mainly used Fokker 50s to fly workers to and from mine sites during the mining boom, but the decrease in this industry in the last year or so has rendered the service less suitable economically for the carrier.

The decision to sell its Fokker 50 planes could also have a negative impact on the services Virgin Australia provides to mining companies in West Australia. Right now, for example, the carrier operates charter flights to and out of Carnarvon, but the problem lies in the fact the airport runway there can't support an aircraft bigger than F50. This could only mean the service will be axed.

The company already canceled several routes it operated using Fokker 50 planes. Last month, Virgin announced it will no longer fly from Perth to Albany, Esperance and Ravensthrope. These services will end as soon as the airline's contract for them expires in February next year.

Not Clear Who Will Take over Great Southern Routes

The question remains, however, as to which carrier will take over the operations to the Great Southern.

The tendering process for the routes is in progress at this point and the Australian Department of Transport said it will assess it and announce the best bidder later this year.

The deadline for this decision is February, 2016.