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Skywest engages Virgin Blue in terminal

SKYWEST has confirmed it is in serious negotiations with Virgin Blue to thrash out a deal for the terminal space at Perth airport and flight paths around the State.

Despite the intense focus this week on Chris Corrigan’s Patrick Corporation, following the $260 million deal for a 50 per cent share in Virgin Blue, Skywest is looking at a number of options for the newly-launched Skywest in WA.

“I guess there are a number of areas we need to look at and one of those is an alliance with another major carrier,” Skywest chief executive officer Bill Meeke said.

“We’re not in serious dis-cussions with Qantas. There have been discussions from time to time, but it gets a bit hard because any alliance would just further entrench the monopoly.”

Mr Meeke said Skywest could end up co-tendering for the former Ansett terminal but it could become a common user terminal.

“We’d like to sit side by side Virgin in the terminal and we’re certainly looking at their reservations system, he said”

However, opportunities exist for a broader alliance with Virgin Blue, in which Virgin handles interstate traffic and Skywest deals with intrastate flights.

Mr Meeke will travel to Brisbane this week for further discussions.

Under the umbrella of Ansett, Skywest was predominantly a corporate operator but it is now looking at tourism opportunities.

“Skywest weren’t terribly active in the regions in promoting tour-ism but we now see that as an areas where we can generate new traffic,” Mr Meeke said.

Skywest is already working in conjunction with Great Aussie Holidays to encourage operators to bundle Skywest flights into tourist packages.

“We’ve put wholesale fares, which are 55 per cent discounted fares, out for operators to put together as part of packages,” Mr Meeke said.

Skywest is not the only operator interested in picking up a share of the high-profile tourism market, however. Skippers boss Stan Quinlivan has signalled that his company is interested in expanding its tourism sector activity.

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