Virgin Australia completes Skywest takeover

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Virgin Australia has completed its takeover of Perth-based regional carrier Skywest Airlines, and appointed Merren McArthur to lead its regional operations.

Virgin says its proposed cash and shares takeover offer became binding on 11 April, following the completion of all the necessary approvals.

This will result in Skywest shares being delisted from the London Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities Exchange, and Skywest shareholders will be able to trade their Virgin shares from 22 April.

"We are very pleased to have completed the transaction and to now be able to bring the Skywest business into the Virgin Australia Group," says Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti.

"This acquisition gives Virgin Australia the ability to increase competition in these important market segments, which in turn will benefit jobs and tourism, especially in growing regional markets including Western Australia."

Borghetti also announced the appointment of McArthur to the newly created role of group executive, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines.

McArthur has been with Virgin since 2011, previously in the role of group executive for alliances, network and yield. In the new role, she will take responsibility for integrating Skywest into Virgin's operations and driving its regional business from Perth.

"We recognise the success of Skywest's charter business and will look to leverage and expand this across Australia," she says. "We believe there is a need for more competition on regional routes and our plan is to grow the current operations and expand our network to new destinations throughout Australia."

Virgin announced its cash and shares takeover offer for regional partner Skywest in October 2012.

Flightglobal Pro data shows that Skywest operates a fleet of 19 aircraft under its own brand, and also wet-leases 11 ATR 72s to Virgin Australia.