Mining charter contracts boost Skywest Airlines

AUSTRALIAN regional carrier Skywest Airlines will this morning reveal it has swung into the black over the first half of the year, despite a worldwide slump in demand for air travel in the downturn.

Skywest, which charters planes to ferry employees of some of the world’s largest mining groups to and from resource developments in western Australia, made a pre-tax profit of 10.1m Singapore dollars (£4.6m) over the six months to December. That compares with a loss of 2.5 Singapore dollars over the same period in 2008.

The Aim-listed company is also set to reinstate its interim dividend at 0.005 Singapore dollars per share, having withheld shareholder payouts over the prior interim period.
Executive chairman Jeff Chatfield said that the firm would try to build on its charter client list, which currently includes the likes of miners Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Newcrest.

“The group continues to recognise the growth potential for Western Australia, particularly in light of recent announcements of a significant number of significant resource developments,” Chatfield said.

“The airline has continued to engage an additional strategy of focusing services on the resources sector, targeting as clients the major resource producers who fly their workers on a regular scheduled basis into and out of the mining areas.”