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Virgin Blue has announced it will continue to be the low fare leader with a greater than 40% increase in year round direct services to the Gold Coast including the launch of a first time ever direct West Coast – Gold Coast Service from 29 March next year - offering the only non-stop option between these two key tourism centres.
The new service will initially operate five days a week, but is expected to move to daily services, subject to demand.
The decision to launch the flight was based on the large number of Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales based travellers who currently drive to Brisbane or connect to Perth via Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide to take advantage of Virgin Blue’s low fares to the West Coast.
Maintaining Virgin Blue’s new route announcement tradition, a special one-off fare of $149* one-way will be up for grabs from today until 31 December 2003 for travel between 29 March and 30 June 2004.
Mid-Week Mini-Fares will be $199*, while everyday low fares between the Gold Coast and Perth start from $249* one-way.
These fares make the Gold Coast significantly cheaper than Bali for the West Australian traveller.
The new flight is an exciting addition to Virgin Blue’s fast growing Gold Coast and Perth schedules, addressing the needs of the tourism industry and business community as well as those who until recently simply couldn’t afford to fly across the country to visit their loved ones.
This first-time-ever service continues Virgin Blue’s tradition of ‘hub-busting’ to offer people affordable flights direct to their destinations.
The new flight from the Gold Coast to Perth will kick off at the same time as the airline adds two additional direct flights from Melbourne and an additional Sydney flight to its year-round schedule, adding a product that enhances tourism but also meets the needs of the steadily growing business traffic on these key routes.
Virgin Blue Head of Communications and Strategy, David Huttner said: “There are two kinds of airlines in this world, the type that raise prices when their flights are full, and the type that simply add more capacity and keep the fares affordable for all. Virgin Blue has spent the last three years proving that we are the low fare leader and today’s announcement reaffirms that we will continue to be the people’s champion, not just for the tourism industry but for anyone who wants to fly with the best service at the best prices.”
As a consequence of these additional flights Virgin Blue will go from nine to 13 daily departures from the Gold Coast year-round, a 44% increase in their winter Gold Coast schedule reflecting the type of capacity levels that until now the airline has only offered during the peak season.
David Huttner added, “The Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales bookings have demonstrated that the type of capacity levels that have been offered in the peak season can be supported year round if the fares are attractive enough. We think it’s time that the tourism industry stop thinking of the year in terms of peaks and troughs – that’s why we are putting on peak level capacity year round.”
He continued, “We have always promised to support the regions that support us and these additional services will provide Virgin Blue Guests with more flexibility and choice in terms of flight timings and low fare availability.”
The Gold Coast has successfully increased its long-recognised desirability as an ideal “sun, surf’ and sand” holiday for both domestic and international visitors.
At the same time, Virgin Blue has developed a loyal base of Gold Coast business travellers who regularly take advantage of affordable fares to fly on its daily direct flights to Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide to go about their business and will shortly be able to add Perth to their list of destination options out of the Gold Coast.
Virgin Blue also operates the only non-stop flight between the Gold Coast and Canberra with a weekly Saturday service.
Virgin Blue’s strong growth in both the leisure and business sectors has helped to account for the airline reaching a Total Domestic Market** share of 29% in the month of September according to the Department of Transport and Regional Services statistics (up from 28% in August as noted in Virgin Blue’s prospectus, p.52).
For Virgin Blue bookings log on to www.virginblue.com.au, call 13 6789 or contact a travel agent.
* All fares are for flights booked on the Internet. $10 more by phone. The launch fare offer is on sale from today until 31 December 2003 and flights are for travel from 29 March to 30 June 2004. Mid-Week Mini-Fares are for travel on Tuesday and Wednesdays. Fares are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or peak days.
** Total Domestic Market – all regular air transport operations within Australia including jet operations of regional carriers but excluding turbo prop aircraft operations of regional airlines with less than 8,000 passengers per month.