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12/11/2007

PACIFIC BLUE LAUNCHES LOCAL NEW ZEALAND FLIGHTS TODAY

The first Pacific Blue Airlines domestic flights take off today from Christchurch and Auckland bound for Wellington, ushering in a new era of competition and affordability for the domestic New Zealand market.


The airline is now operating services between the three key cities of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland and is the first new domestic carrier to enter the New Zealand market for over six years. Pacific Blue’s decision to enter the domestic market follows nearly four years of success operating trans-Tasman and South Pacific services.


Virgin Blue Chief Executive and co-founder, Brett Godfrey said, “As a challenger brand we are always attracted to markets that are constrained by lacklustre competition and monopolistic or duopolistic suppliers. New Zealand is a prime example of this and we are pleased that from today, New Zealanders will have increased choice, more affordable fares and greater travel options.”


“We believe that Pacific Blue and our pricing levels will appeal to both leisure travellers who want to visit friends or family or holiday within their own country without breaking the bank, as well as business commuters who want to be smart with their travel budgets when they fly the short distances between New Zealand cities,” he said.


“Pacific Blue has flourished on the trans-Tasman route despite doomsday warnings of being caught in a “bloodbath” and this success is the result of our low cost strategy combined with high quality service, a genuine commitment to reasonable fares and our professional but friendly, fun crew. This same strategy is being applied to domestic flights and we are enthusiastic about opening up domestic air travel opportunities in the same way we have done between Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.”

 

Virgin Group Chairman, Sir Richard Branson said "I am thrilled that from today domestic air travel in New Zealand will be affordable and fun for everyone to enjoy. Air travel has been too expensive in New Zealand for way too long. It is a beautiful country and people should be encouraged to fly around and enjoy it."


"The Pacific Blue and Virgin Blue teams have done a brilliant job and will not only make travel more affordable but also much more enjoyable for many years to come."


Pacific Blue’s inaugural flights will touch down in Wellington at 8:00am and 8.05am. The arrival of the flights will be followed by a high spirited celebration at Wellington Airport featuring a champagne breakfast and a special performance by New Zealand rock band, “Evermore” for special guests including Members of Parliament, VIP guests from the New Zealand business and tourism communities, aviation industry partners and Pacific Blue team members.


From today, Pacific Blue will be flying regularly between the three main centres:


·Auckland–Wellington:   Five direct daily return flights with fares starting from $69 one-way on the internet


·Auckland–Christchurch:  Two direct daily return flights with fares starting from $79 one-way on the internet


·Wellington–Christchurch:  Three direct daily return flights with fares starting from $59 one-way on the internet


Pacific Blue will monitor ongoing demand for the flights and use this information to determine future schedules. The airline is also reviewing opportunities for other new destinations within New Zealand for both domestic and international services.


As part of its launch celebrations the airline raised well over $1,000 for Variety – the children’s charity. This included an online auction of the first seat on the first Pacific Blue domestic flight from Auckland to Wellington. A New Zealand aviation fan bid $1,014 for seat 1A on the inaugural return flight, and the opportunity to be a part of New Zealand aviation history.


About Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue, and Virgin Blue Airlines

Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue, along with Australian domestic airline Virgin Blue, operate a fleet of 56 modern Boeing 737 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to 22 Australian and eight international destinations including New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.