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15/06/2001

Virgin Blue Announces Direct Canberra-Brisbane Flights

Canberra is the newest city to be added to Virgin Blue’s expanding route network with Australia’s only low fare airline today announcing it will bring its charismatic service to the nation’s capital for the first time as of July 12.


Virgin Blue will fly its Boeing 737 jets on the new route, providing "Canberrans" with the largest, fastest and most comfortable jet service option available to them.


The airline will initially operate one direct flight a day departing Brisbane at 9.45am, arriving in Canberra at 11.30am and then taking off from Canberra at 12.00pm, arriving in Brisbane at 1.35pm.


Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey said Canberra is a classic example of a city that is currently under served and overpriced.


"There are many routes like this in Australia and we believe the Canberra market has been held to ransom by the current duopoly who service the city primarily due to the fact that Canberra is heavily dominated by Government and big business traffic", he said.


Virgin Blue believes the current Canberra environment is a clear example of how the big guys assume that big businesses can pay hefty air fares and therefore so should everyone else.


"Air fares are therefore kept at a high level and Virgin Blue intends to crack open the Canberra market, offer our everyday low fares and throw open opportunity to both small business and leisure guests who can't afford to fly or fly often enough at the existing price levels. If those big business and government departments would also like to slash their travel budget and save taxpayers money, we hope they will see fit to fly with us too."


In keeping with our tradition, Virgin Blue will offer a launch special of $99 for the first 9 days of sale. Bookings for flights up until August 31, made between today and midnight Saturday June 23, will be available for just $99 on the Internet.


Following our launch special, everyday low prices will start from $119.00 one way with a $249.00 fully flexible Y fare (most expensive), compared to our nearest competitors’ equivalent fare of $407.00. The Virgin Blue fare offers a saving of 38%.


Brett Godfrey continued, "while it's hoped the low fares will appeal to the cost conscious business market in both directions, Virgin Blue is confident Canberra based leisure travellers will also be enticed to head north to bask in the winter warmth and sunshine at the Sunshine or Gold Coasts.


For Queenslanders, it means affordable air travel to the Australian capital to learn about our country’s history and politics or the more adventurous can "ski-do" to the Snowy Mountains. With the snow season officially open, ski fans can now fly south and still afford to pay for their ski hire and lift tickets when they get there.


We are very excited to announce this Canberra-Brisbane route as it epitomises what Virgin Blue is all about... bringing low fares to deprived markets, offering a unique style of service and opening up the skies to those who up until now, haven't been able to afford to fly", he finished.


Virgin Blue operates the most modern, technologically advanced aircraft in Australia today, with an average age of less than 5 years, compared with Ansett’s average fleet age of 11.7 years and Qantas with an average fleet age of 10.8 years. (Salomon Smith Barney 2001 Fleet handbook as at 31/12/00)


* Special launch fare offer available on the Internet or $5 more via the reservations centre.