JUST months away from its planned float, Skywest Airlines is moving to bolster its flight services in regional WA
Flight services to Kalgoorlie and Esperance have been increased in response to strong demand from the Goldfields region.
Flights from Perth to Kalgoorlie and Esperance will be increased and a new twice-weekly service will link the two regional centres.
The schedule comes into effect in the week commencing March 8 and will incorporate twice daily weekday services to Esperance.
Skywest is also poised to announce the new destinations its second jet will service. This could take the airline into markets currently dominated by Qantas.
It is exciting times for the regional airline, which was almost dragged down by the collapse of Ansett in 2001.
Skywest chief executive Scott Henderson said: “The news for us is good all round”.
Mr Henderson said both the resource sector resurgence and market appreciation for the Skywest service had driven the growth in demand.
“People are enjoying the Skywest service. Our Broome flights are exceeding all expectations,” he said.
Mr Henderson said while there was significant business travel between Kalgoorlie and Esperance, the key reason the new intra-regional service had been introduced was to service the tourist trade.
A one-way flight between Esperance and Kalgoorlie will start at $49.50.
The announcement of the new services comes just weeks away from the regional airline’s announcement of its first half performance.
Skywest recorded a bumper return for the September quarter, revealing a better than expected net profit of $745,000.
Mr Henderson said the results for the first half would continue the trend of the past two quarter results.
If that is right, the continued positive performance of Skywest will bode well for its planned float in March or April.
Mr Henderson said a profit audit of the first half was being conducted to finalise profit forecasts for the prospectus, which would be released in early March.
“The market is ripe for a float,” he said.
“At the end of the day there are airlines around the world making money.
“Western Australia is a place that airlines are critical to.”
Mr Henderson said the company would float at a low multiple compared to what the airline was aiming for.
“When we float we will leave a lot in for investors,” he said.
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