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Virgin Blue To Fly The Aussie Skies

05/02/2000

Australia's newest airline has announced it will be flying under the banner of Virgin Blue.

The name was chosen from among the 3200 entries received in a public "name the airline" competition in conjunction with Brisbane radio station 4KQ.

Over a dozen finalists came up with "Virgin Blue" and those names were placed in a hat and drawn live on air this morning by the Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Blue AIRLINES PTY LTD, Brett Godfrey.

The winner, an interior designer from Brisbane, will receive two return trips each year for life.

While Virgin Blue was deemed the best name for the revolutionary new airline, numerous creative submissions were made including , People First Airline, VIRGIN Air and Staff, Fair Fare VIRGIN, and I Can Afford That Airline.

Other more cheeky and imaginative suggestions included "Rooted Airlines" and "VIRGIN Down Under".

Richard Branson, Chairman of the VIRGIN Group, said there were a number of reasons why Virgin Blue was chosen:

"I've heard how Australians refer to a red head as a 'BLUEy' and since our planes are red, we thought it would be a bit of fun. Additionally, we think the name may be appropriate since some people suspect we are going to have a bit of a ŒBLUE' with the big airlines."

He continued, "Seriously though, it also represents our goal to prove to Australia how true BLUE we are about delivering low fares".

Branson concluded by saying "One thing is for sure. Based on the tremendous support this airline has received from the Australian public in the past five months, I am confident that we have not made a "BLUE" by challenging the duopoly that has limited domestic travel in Australia for too long."

The first of Virgin Blue's fleet of Boeing 737's is scheduled to arrive within a month from its European-based sister airline, VIRGIN Express.

The aircraft, with its new red livery, will take part in Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) proving flights as part of the process to obtain an Air Operators Certificate (AOC).

The Brisbane based airline is on track for a pre-Olympic start-up and is expected to announce its launch routes within the next few weeks.