Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) has delayed the delivery of six new ATR 72-600s as it works to integrate operations with parent airline Virgin Australia.
The carrier, formerly known as Skywest, decided late last year to push back delivery of six ATRs to between March 2014 and August 2015. The turboprops were initially scheduled to be delivered between November 2013 and December 2014.
In addition, one aircraft delivered in September has not yet entered service with the airline, leaving it with an operational fleet of 12 ATR 72s. The aircraft are all leased from Singapore-based lessor Avation.
Virgin acquired Skywest in April 2013 and has, over the last eight months, been taking steps to integrate new management, processes and systems to the regional operation, says a spokeswoman.
"In 2013 we made a decision to slow the airline’s growth to allow time to complete the integration of new resources and to embed the new systems and processes. This included deferring the introduction of new aircraft and destinations to the regional network," she says. "This is only temporary whilst we complete the integration process and we anticipate this will be complete by middle of this year."
Virgin has been communicating regularly with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) as it works through the integration process, she adds. A CASA spokesman told Flightglobal Pro it has not sanctioned VARA and continues to provide the normal level of oversight to the carrier.
Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets shows that VARA’s fleet also includes 10 Fokker 100s, eight Fokker 50s and two Airbus A320s.