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Virgin Blue Lands First Jet Service in Hervey Bay / Fraser Coast

29/07/2005

Award winning carrier, Virgin Blue will touch down at Hervey Bay/Fraser Coast Gateway Airport for the first time at 12.35pm today, heralding the launch of Virgin Blue’s services into the coastal region. It signals a new era in aviation travel for Guests flying between Sydney and the Fraser Coast, with the introduction of the first ever commercial jet aircraft onto Hervey Bay routes.


Among those celebrating the launch will be Federal Transport Minister, Warren Truss, Virgin Blue Chief Commercial Officer, Stefan Pichler and Channel Ten’s Good Morning Australia crew, who along with a flight full of eager tourists and locals will enjoy Virgin Blue’s surprise in-flight launch festivities.


Virgin Blue Chief Commercial Officer, Stefan Pichler said, “Virgin Blue was the first carrier to commit to Hervey Bay, prompting the redevelopment and upgrade of the airport to accommodate our Boeing 737 aircraft. We applaud Hervey Bay Council for recognising the importance of high quality jet services to the tourism industry and in particular its potential to boost visitor numbers as Virgin Blue has done in many other regional centres such as Coffs Harbour.”


Stefan Pichler continued, “Virgin Blue is very encouraged by strong forward bookings for flights to and from the Fraser Coast, and past experience has proven that non-metropolitan communities can sustain a jet service. As Australia’s second largest airline and OAG Best Low Cost Airline of the Year for the second year in a row, travellers to the Fraser Coast will enjoy our great service and the convenience of an assigned leather seat with comfortable legroom and a range of optional extras.”


The flights arrive just in time for visitors to witness the spectacular annual humpback whale migration and popular Hervey Bay Whale Festival. Its close proximity to both Fraser and Lady Elliot Islands presents a number of holiday options, whether it is exploring the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef or experiencing the bird and marine life.


Virgin Blue First Officer, Paul Stocks, who grew up in Hervey Bay and took his first job flying between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island will be returning to his home town as part of the operating crew on the inaugural flight. Stock said, “It’s going to be a special flight for me and I’m very excited to be part of this historical flight into my old stomping ground, albiet in a slightly bigger aircraft than the last time when I landed a Cessna 206 at Hervey Bay.”


The low fare carrier will initially operate Fraser Coast services on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with flights scheduled to depart Sydney at 11.05am and land the Fraser Coast at 12.50pm, before turning around and departing Fraser Coast at 1.50pm, touching down at Sydney at 3.35pm.


Convenient connections will also be available to other ports including Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. Fares for Virgin Blue flights between Fraser Coast and Sydney will initially start from $79* one way on the Internet. Virgin Blue will monitor demand for the Hervey Bay services and if support is ongoing, consider increasing the flights to daily.


* Fares are one-way on the net, or $10 more by phone. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one way flight is applicable. Fares are subject to availability and prices are subject to change. Fares are inclusive of all taxes, fees and charges.