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Mar 13, 2024

VARA named best regional airline

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FA News Desk
VARA Executive GM Nathan Miller (left)accepts the Regional Airline of The Year 2024 Award from Founder and CEO Geoffrey Thomas. Image: AirlineRatings
VARA Executive GM Nathan Miller (left)accepts the Regional Airline of The Year 2024 Award from Founder and CEO Geoffrey Thomas. Image: AirlineRatings

Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) has been named’s Best Regional Airline for 2024 for its outstanding service and innovation in the world’s harshest operating environment.

VARA Executive General Manager, Nathan Miller said: “VARA which has just celebrated its 60th year has been a proud fixture in the Western Australian landscape for over six decades, playing an important role in connecting communities across our vast state.”

“Being awarded Regional Airline of the Year is an honour that underscores our commitment to exceptional customer service which is delivered by our incredible team each and every day,” he said.

“This award follows a number of exciting milestones for VARA as we continue to diversify our charter portfolio and expand our reach in Western Australia.” Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas said “VARA is an outstanding operation and brings the safety and product of Virgin Australia to the most remote corner of Western Australia and has been doing so for over 60 years.”

“At every touchpoint, it is a class operation and there is innovation – driven by isolation – everywhere,” Mr. Thomas said.

Like a great racehorse, the pedigree of VARA, Skywest Airlines, can be traced back to many aviation pioneers who battled a combination of unforgiving terrain, intense heat and isolation to forge links with distant towns.

That spirit, that sense of what works and what is right, continues to this day with VARA which was the first to introduce the Fokker 100 and Airbus A320 jets into Western Australia.

Skywest, and then VARA, have been the backbone of regular passenger transport (RPT) and fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) charter work over the past 30 years.

VARA today is the melding of many airlines and the concept behind each initiative differed – some were flying schools, some were cattle musterers, one was formed to fulfil the need to fly supplies to a remote hotel, while one had a racing car pedigree.

Although the motives amongst them may have been different, all had the same ingredients: an unwavering passion and a never-say-die spirit to ‘give it a go’ in an unforgiving country where isolation dominated life

Now VARA is looking ahead to the next phase of its growth, flagging an order for new regional jets in the Airbus A220-100 or Embraer E190E2.

The new regional jets will replace the airline’s remaining Fokker 100 aircraft. In 2021, VARA undertook a review of various options to replace the F100s and acquired a fleet of Boeing 737-700s for the majority of the network.

However, some airports VARA operates to are unable to accept the B737-700 due to aerodrome constraints and the regional jets are needed.

This year Excellence Awards will be announced over two months with a new winner or winners announced each week culminating with Airline of The Year 2024 and our Top Twenty.

(Based on AirlineRatings’ news)