Nifty Fifty 31 jul 0531/07/2005
Nifty Fifty - Virgin Blue Unveils Its 50th Boeing 737 Ng Aircraft
Australia’s Low Cost Carrier Marks Major Milestone
Virgin Blue’s 50 th aircraft touched down at Brisbane airport today, painted in a bold blue colour scheme to recognise this significant milestone for the award winning low cost carrier.
The aircraft was flown in from the Boeing factory in Seattle and landed with much pomp and ceremony to reveal its special 50 th aircraft livery featuring a blue fuselage with red highlights, the opposite to the existing fleet of red aircraft with blue highlights.
The aircraft also has a unique interior which celebrates the efforts of all Virgin Blue team members who have been part of building Virgin Blue into one of the most successful and profitable airline’s in the world.
Both the first and surnames of every single staff member have been printed on the overhead lockers, giving recognition to the 5687 number of team members who have worked for Virgin Blue since the airline launched in August 2000. A staff BBQ was held to allow family and friends the opportunity to board the new aircraft and find their name.
Whilst the 50 th aircraft’s arrival represents a momentous occasion for Virgin Blue, other changes to the new-age LCC’s strategy have been equally significant.
The competitive environment has changed dramatically since the airline’s launch in August 2000 and has included the luring of Impulse Airlines into the Qantas lair, the demise of Ansett Airlines, the introduction of Virgin Blue’s international carrier Pacific Blue, the launch of Qantas no frills off-shoot Jetstar, numerous perceived “airfare wars”, and record high jet fuel prices.
Globally, Virgin Blue has flown in the face of aviation trends by growing both domestically and internationally when other airlines have either merged, filed for bankruptcy, or reduced workforces.
Moving forward, Virgin Blue’s focus is on re-defining its product offering to attract a higher percentage of high yield business travellers, whilst at the same time retaining the lowest cost base in the country.
Chief Executive Officer Brett Godfrey said, “Let’s be very clear here, there has never been a more competitive, a more volatile or a more dynamic aviation environment in Australia than what there is today. We are under no illusions that Virgin Blue needs to remain at the forefront of strategic innovation to remain a viable player in the Australian, Tasman and South Pacific regions and we believe we are well positioned to do that.”