Virgin Blue to Launch Daily Flights to Mildura05/08/2008
Virgin Blue Airlines has announced it will introduce a new regional destination to its domestic route network with the launch of daily direct flights to Mildura in Victoria’s north-west, from 13 October 2008^.
The airline will bring jet aircraft services to Mildura for the first time, operating a brand new EMBRAER E-170 aircraft between Mildura and Melbourne. The EMBRAER E-170 aircraft is ideally suited to regional markets and has 78 leather seats in a 2x2 seating configuration. The jet aircraft is also 25% quicker than the existing turbo-prop aircraft currently operating on the route.
Virgin Blue has been in close consultation with Mildura Rural City Council over recent months regarding the viability of a jet service to the region and Council has lobbied hard to entice Virgin Blue flights to the Sunraysia region.
The carrier has a validation team set up to specifically research potential new destinations based on a variety of factors, including existing air services, current airport infrastructure, region population base and viability for tourism and business growth.
One of the key benefits for travellers will be the quick 60 minute flying time between Mildura and Melbourne in the E-JET compared to the 1 hour 20 minute flight in the turbo-prop aircraft currently servicing the route.
Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “Mildura will be a great addition to our network, we're confident the new Virgin Blue flights will prove beneficial to the local community both from a tourism perspective as well as for local residents and business travellers who will have a new choice of airline. Time is precious and for business people in particular time is also money, so saving 20 minutes will also be a great benefit”.
He added, “Mildura was chosen out of a shortlist of half a dozen potential new ports, primarily because it was 'ripe for the picking' in terms of not having an existing jet aircraft operation.
"We're looking forward to introducing the comfort and efficiency of jet services, more affordable fares and to helping stimulate more tourism traffic to the region.”
Virgin Blue's new Mildura flights go on sale today and following Virgin Blue tradition, a special launch fare is on offer in honour of Mildura’s famous fruit growing heritage. 200 “Tutti Fruity” $2* internet only fares between Mildura and Melbourne will go on sale from 8pm AEST tonight (Tuesday 5 August) for one hour or until sold out. Travel is for 13 October 2008 to 28 March 2009. A further sale offering thousands of $59* one-way fares is also available from now until midnight Tuesday 12 August 2008 for travel 13 October to 28 March 2009. The everyday lead-in Virgin Blue fare is $109* one-way on the Internet.
The airport will undergo an upgrade to accommodate the new Virgin Blue jet services, including new check-in counters, new baggage system, a passenger security screening facility and upgrading the tarmac apron. The existing Mildura Airport runway is already capable of handling an EMBRAER jet.
Brett Godfrey continued, “In the current aviation climate, we are particularly prudent about venturing in to new markets, however we are hopeful the people of Mildura will embrace Virgin Blue and reap the benefits that our other regional destinations have experienced through having increased competition and a modern, efficient jet aircraft operation servicing the community.”
Connections will be available from Mildura to other Virgin Blue destinations via Melbourne including Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Hobart, Launceston, Perth and Sydney.
MILDURA- MELBOURNE SCHEDULE
MELBOURNE – MILDURA: EFFECTIVE 13 OCTOBER 2008
MILDURA – MELBOURNE: EFFECTIVE 13 OCTOBER 2008
* All fares are for flights booked on the internet or for $59 sale fares $15 more when booked by phone. Fares are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or peak times. A credit card surcharge of an additional $3 per person per one way flight is applicable for $59 sale fares. For Virgin Blue bookings log on to www.virginblue.com.au or phone our award winning Guest Contact Centre on 13 6789 or contact a travel agent.
^ Flights subject to regulatory approval.