18/05/2004 - 22:00

Skywest routes in competitors’ sights

18/05/2004 - 22:00

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Skywest routes in competitors’ sights

THE proposed takeover of Western Australian regional airline Skywest has given its competitors some hope of accessing its protected routes.

Skywest has a WA Government-enforced monopoly that protects its Esperance, Albany, Exmouth and Carnarvon routes from competitors Great Western Airlines and Skippers Aviation.

However, while the Government says it will remain true to its protected routes policy, it also says there is no reason those routes should remain with Skywest.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the Government was watching developments relating to Singapore-owned CaptiveVision Capital’s bid for Skywest with interest.

Ms MacTiernan said the Government remained committed to its protected routes policy.

“Skywest has been given that protection in order to provide its financial stability,” she said.

However, Ms MacTiernan said there was no reason why Skywest should be the company to hold that route protection and that Skywest would be open to intense scrutiny, no matter who owned it.

“There is a price to be paid for getting that monopoly and that is having us scrutinising them,” she said.

“If we’re offering route protection there is a requirement for a high level of disclosure of companies’ activities.”

GWA managing director Bob Ballantyne said the Government should reconsider its position if Skywest became a foreign owned company.

“Otherwise the Government could find itself in the position of protecting a foreign-owned company from WA-owned companies,” he said.

Skywest is not the only airline with protected routes.

Skywest chairman Pat Ryan said Skippers had more protected routes than Skywest.

The CaptiveVision Capital bid for Skywest has been referred to the Takeovers Panel for adjudication on, among other things, the terms of the offer including the defeating conditions to the offer, and disclosures made in CVC’s bidder statement.

The panel is yet to provide a ruling.

CVC’s directors have declined to comment on the bid.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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