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Virgin Blue In State Of Excitement Over New Invest Queensland Campaign
Monday 6 March 2006: Virgin Blue has joined forces with the Queensland Government to help launch a major promotional campaign to attract investors to follow in the footsteps of Virgin Blue and set up business in the Smart State.
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and Deputy Premier Anna Bligh flew to Melbourne to collect one of the key elements of the Invest Queensland campaign from Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey,– a Virgin Blue jet sporting a special “Head to Queensland” paint theme to literally fly the Queensland flag around Australia.
The “Head to Queensland” campaign is aimed at wooing business and industry investment by highlighting the benefits the state has to offer, including an economic growth rate forecast at 4.25% combined with low taxes, state of the art infrastructure, affordable business costs as well as a pro-active State Government. Virgin Blue’s part in the campaign is particularly relevant given the airline’s decision to base itself in Queensland when the carrier launched in August 2000.
Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey said the move has more than paid off for Virgin Blue
“The decision to base our headquarters in Brisbane was a long considered one and has worked well. Almost six years on, from our Brisbane base we operate a comprehensive national network spanning 22 domestic and eight international destinations with 60% of our staff still based in Queensland.”
Brett Godfrey continued, “These days there are as many ‘crane spotters’ as there are ‘plane spotters’ in Queensland. We benefit from being based in a boom state and Queensland’s continued economic growth and the support of the Queensland Government has been significant in Virgin Blue’s ongoing success.”
Virgin Blue launched on 31 August 2000 with two aircraft and 200 staff. Today, the multi-award winning airline has almost 4000 staff, 51 modern 737 aircraft and an annual turnover of $1.75 billion.
The airline continues to invest heavily in infrastructure in Queensland. Two years ago Virgin Blue opened a $45-million joint venture aircraft simulator and training centre in conjunction with Boeing Alteon. The centre is one of only four similar facilities in the world and offers specialist training to the local and international aviation industries.
Virgin Blue has also just completed construction of a $25-million aircraft hangar and maintenance base. Both facilities are located in the Brisbane Airport Precinct.
Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie said Virgin Blue was a perfect example of a company that had set up shop in Queensland.
“Investing in Queensland is smart business. We are a low tax State, our business costs are extremely competitive, our infrastructure is state-of-the-art and continuing to grow in line with our growing population, and you have a pro-business State Government who is committed to helping you succeed,” Mr Beattie said.
“The airline considered many factors including operating costs, airport facilities, aviation links, cost of living and community lifestyle before selecting Brisbane ahead of all other Australia capital cities.”
“Today’s unveiling of the Virgin Blue aeroplane promoting our Invest Queensland campaign is I think symbolic not only of the Queensland Government’s successful partnership with Virgin Blue, but with industry in Queensland in general.”
The Queensland Government’s “Head to Queensland” aircraft is only the third in Virgin Blue’s fleet to be painted in non-Virgin Blue red. The airline’s 50th aircraft is painted blue and features the names of some 5000 past and present Virgin Blue team members. Another black and green jet is sponsored by Gillette under Virgin Blue’s new “Skyboard” advertising program which allows a limited number of aircraft to be painted in commercial liveries to act as flying billboards.