Virgin Blue Goes Troppo14/03/2001
Maracas And Mango Low Fares Land At Regional Destination
Virgin Blue Airlines today touched down at Townsville, marking the airline's first foray into regional Australia and opening up the skies for hundreds of thousands of North Queenslanders.
The Queensland carrier chose a North Queensland destination (Brisbane-Townsville direct) as its "virgin" regional service to highlight its commitment to its home state.
Chief Executive Officer, Brett Godfrey, said outrageous air fares were a major incentive for Virgin Blue to unlock the market and offer affordable and fun travel to those who had been ripped off and held to ransom for years.
"Before Virgin Blue announced plans to begin flying to Townsville from Brisbane, the full fares were a little over $900.00 return. As predicted, the traditional carriers have seen fit to lower their fares to match our prices. We applaud them for acknowledging that their overpriced and heavily restricted offers were less than appealing for travellers and Virgin Blue is proud to inspire this newfound sense of reason and fairness".
Venturing into more regional centres is part of Virgin Blue's long term strategy, where there is a desperate demand for low fare travel from both the leisure and business markets.
Regional destinations are appealing to Virgin Blue as they enhance the airline's already exceptional on-time performance record due to the lack of congestion compared to some capital city hubs.
Virgin Blue is keen to expand to other North Queensland destinations and is currently considering a number of cities including Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton.
"We evaluate potential regional destinations on their runways ability to cater for a 737 aircraft, existing infrastructure, operating charges, demand from leisure and business traffic and the level of existing air services. In Townsville's case, all these requirements were clearly met".
Townsville-Brisbane is Virgin Blue's most successful launch route to date in relation to forward bookings, exceeding even the airline's recent Brisbane-Adelaide launch.