Australia's Skywest secures charter contract with Rio Tinto

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Australian regional carrier Skywest Airlines has secured a three-year contract with mining and exploration firm Rio Tinto to provide air charter services to Boolgeeda in Western Australia.

Under the scheduled charter contract, Skywest expects to operate up to eight return services weekly using Airbus A320 and Fokker 100 aircraft. Initial services to Boolgeeda began in December.

Skywest already provides a regular fly-in, fly-out services to Rio Tinto between Perth and Angeles.

Separately, Virgin Australia is awaiting regulatory approval for a proposed full takeover of Skywest, with an aim to accelerate Skywest's push into the regional aviation market and gain more exposure to the lucrative resource charter market.