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Virgin Blue Defies Global Aviation Trend With More Growth

15/05/2003

New Adelaide-Canberra Flights

More Capacity On Adelaide-Perth and Sydney-Cairns

Virgin Blue is continuing its campaign to offer more direct low fare options, today confirming plans to begin flights between Adelaide and Canberra later this year with a launch sale fare of $69* one-way on the net


Virgin Blue Chairman Richard Branson made the announcement during a visit to Adelaide with Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey where they are accepting an award from the Tourism Task Force for the airline’s contribution to domestic tourism.


Other key schedule enhancements include:


New second daily Adelaide-Perth service:

The introduction of a second daily direct Adelaide-Perth service from September 15, which will double capacity on the popular route in line with demand. It follows Virgin Blue’s recent launch of Adelaide-Broome flights.


New second daily Sydney-Cairns service:

The introduction of a second daily direct Sydney-Cairns service from September 8 aimed at satisfying the surge in domestic tourism demand to North Queensland.


The direct Adelaide-Canberra service will start from October 7 and will cater to the needs of Virgin Blue’s growing number of business Guests. The 6.20am departure from Adelaide will allow for a convenient, affordable and productive business day in the nation’s capital, with the return flight departing Canberra at 5.45pm and landing back in Adelaide at 7pm in time for dinner.


Virgin Blue Chairman, Richard Branson said, “The Adelaide-Canberra flight combined with the upcoming launch of direct Canberra-Sydney service, highlights Virgin Blue’s determination to offer a competitive alternative and an opportunity for the Government to reduce its wasteful spending of the taxpayers money, nearly all of which goes to one airline.”


Canberra travellers will also benefit with another direct destination option and the convenient opportunity to sample some of the delights of the Adelaide region. It will also mean a new evening connection from Canberra to Perth.


The schedule expansion follows hot on the heels of news the low fare carrier has exceeded its own profit target for the year ending March 31, posting a healthy pre-tax profit of $158-million.


Both the airline profitability and continued growth flies in the face of international aviation trends and Virgin Blue is happy to be providing a stimulus to domestic tourism during challenging times.


Richard Branson continued, “We are delighted to be bringing more good news and more great low fare options to the travelling public, especially at a time when it is most needed. Tourism globally is encountering very difficult times so it is vital that all organisations with links to the industry do their very best to help ease the burden.”


Virgin Blue is one of the few airlines in the world that is adding capacity rather than cutting back and is in the fortunate position of continued growth.


Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said, “Our strategy from day one has been to offer sensational service, sophisticated new aircraft and long term low fares and I think it’s fair to say that the cost of air travel is a lot cheaper today than it was three years ago.”


“We must remain vigilant with regards to costs and we call on other supporters of the tourism industry to lower their costs and pass the savings on to encourage more growth. We continue to lobby hard for the abolition of the Ansett levy and reaffirm our stance as the only airline committed to lowering its fares by $10 for a return flight the moment the levy is removed.”


* All fares include the passenger ticket levy, airport charges and the global security charge and are for flights booked on the Internet. $10 more by phone.