Skywest's route network in 2010;
click the image for a larger view
Skywest Airlines was formed in 1980, having had previous identities as Carnarvon Air Taxis (1963-1979) and Skywest Aviation (1979-1980). It was merged with TransWest Airlines in 1982, generating an operation with very mixed fleet of 36 aircraft.
In 1987, the company was sold to TNT/News Ltd, Ansett Airlines parent company, and began operating under the Ansett banner - a rather peculiar situation, with two Ansett subsidiaries in competition. After the failure of Ansett in September 2001, Skywest was subject to a sequence of sales, and is now owned by a Singapore-based company, Advent Air Ltd.
Initially, Skywest's routes were mainly serviced using a fleet of five 19-passenger, twin-turboprop BAe Jetstream 31 aircraft (four registered VH-ESW, VH-HSW, VH-JSW and VH-OSW).
After the Ansett takeover, in 1994, Fokker 50s were introduced into Skywest service. Twin-jet Fokker 100s were progressively introduced, starting in 2003, allowing Skywest to commence limited international services (to and from Bali). There are plans to progressively replace the Fokker 100s with a fleet of Airbus A320s.
To support its contract operations with the Fortescue Metals' Cloudbreak mine project, Skywest already operates one Airbus A320 on daily return services from Perth. The rest of the airlines fleet comprises 8 Fokker F-50 and 9 Fokker F-100 aircraft.