Air Transport World

Skywest mines success: after some trying years, Skywest finds success in resource-rich Western Australia.(PROFILE)(Skywest Airlines Inc.)(Company overview)

There is posibly no more demanding yet resource-rich territory than the "outback" of Western Australia. With summer temperatures above 40 deg. C (104 deg. F) and rugged mountain ranges, it is a challenging environment for the airlines that service almost 50 towns and mine sites spread over an area about one-third the size of the continental US. But those challenges are the fuel that feeds the innovation and success of Perth-based Skywest Airlines, one of Australia's fastest-growing carriers.

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Skywest's fleet of seven 46-seat F50s and seven F100s operates 243 weekly flights on its scheduled network serving mainly coastal towns plus more than 100 resource charter flights--many at the limit of the fleet's operational capability. Within the past two years it has added two F50s and four F100s while ramping up the utilization of the overall fleet significantly. In the year ended June 30, 2007, RPKs increased 18.3% to 280.8 million and ASKs rose 17% to 488.1 million. Since 2003, ASKs have jumped fivefold from 99 million to 488.1 million.

The booming business shows up in the results. Skywest posted a 68% lift in net profit to A$7.9 million ($7.4 million) on a 32% jump in revenue to A$131.6 million in FY07. And compared to 2003 when it was embroiled in ownership and management upheavals, net profit has grown 14. …

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