West Australian regional carrier Skywest Airlines is installing the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) in its entire Fokker 100 fleet.

The integrated system, which Fokker Services designed, helps to increase tracking accuracy and allow shorter approaches for Fokker 70 and 100 aircraft.

Perth-based Skywest says that it is the first carrier in Australia to operate the system, which allows shorter approaches at night and in bad weather, saves time and fuel, and increases safety and schedule reliability. It also allows the carrier to operate out of mining-related airports that "would be impossible in previous circumstances".

"The installation of the GNSS system will allow us to meet the demand that the Gorgon Project will create, as well as the many other exciting new developments in the West Australian resources sector," says Skywest chairman Jeff Chatfield.

"GNSS will give us the enhanced capability to increase the number of overall flights per day and allows us to land at night at the remote and unattended airfields typical of the major mining operations."

Last year, Skywest won Australia's largest single charter services contract for the mining industry. This was a deal to operate at least 15 weekly return services using a Fokker 100 between Perth and Rio Tinto's West Angelas and Barimunya iron ore sites in Western Australia.

In 2008, it also secured a three-year scheduled charter contract with Fortescue Metals Group for fly-in, fly-out services from Perth to Fortescue's Cloudbreak iron ore mine. In 2002, it won a Rio Tinto contract to operate fly-in, fly-out services from Perth to the Argyle Diamond mine in Western Australia.

Skywest operates a fleet of eight Fokker 100s and seven Fokker 50s, according to Flightglobal's ACAS database.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news