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Virgin Boss Richard Branson Jets Into New Zealand To Meet New Recruits

07/11/2003

Pacific Blue Announces Direct Flights From Christchurch To Melbourne

Virgin Group Chairman, Richard Branson touched down in New Zealand for the first time today to deliver more exciting news in the lead-up to the upcoming launch of New Zealand based international airline, Pacific Blue. Richard Branson flew into the South Island to announce that Pacific Blue will also begin direct services from Christchurch to Melbourne from March 4, just weeks after the inaugural flight from Christchurch to Brisbane.


Richard Branson said, “We are delighted to be bringing a true low fare airline to the people of New Zealand and can’t wait to start flying. Pacific Blue doesn’t believe in use-it-or-lose-it and we don’t think people should have to choose between affordability and flexibility so even our cheapest ticket can be changed up to a day before departure.”


“To prove we are serious about low fares, we have a special launch sale fare of NZ$99* one-way between Christchurch and Melbourne with thousands of seats available at that price and we look forward to ensuring flying across the Tasman is competitive, flexible and fun for a long time to come.”


Demand for direct flights to and from Christchurch to Melbourne prompted Pacific Blue to add the route to its pre-launch network sooner than anticipated.


The NZ$99* sale fare is available today until November 16 and is for travel from March 4 until March 27 2004.


The new route will be the second Pacific Blue Trans-Tasman service, with more expected to be launched in the near future.


Richard Branson continued, “We have every intention of putting on more flights to more destinations and growing the market as we have done with Virgin Blue in Australia. While it is early days, Pacific Blue bookings are looking good and I hope more and more people come on board to support our mission to offer a fun and friendly flying alterative.”


Richard will today catch up with the new Pacific Blue recruits to have a first hand chat about Virgin’s core values which include value for money, sense of fun, innovation, quality and challenging existing alternatives. Pacific Blue has already indicated that the New Zealand program is expected to generate over 200 jobs in the start-up phase alone. The low fare airline is currently sorting through the thousands of applications for various positions as well as progressing the approval processes with government authorities. After the launch special is finished, Pacific Blue will be offering fares from NZ$159* (Mid-Week Mini-Fare) with Fully Flexible walk-up fares of NZ$449*. Fully Flexible fares in both directions are nearly 50% off what competitors are offering for the same type of fare.


Richard also announced today that Pacific Blue will bring forward its launch date of services from Christchurch to Brisbane to Thursday 29 January 2004 from the previously announced February 1 2004. Pacific Blue is making available NZ$99* one way fares on the additional services operating from January 29 to January 31 2004. All inclusive fares from Australia will start from AU$149* one way on the additional January services. Richard confirmed that at least 99 seats on each of these additional services will be available at these promotional fares.


Pacific Blue will launch its maiden services with a fleet of bright red, brand new Boeing 737-800 aircraft, emblazoned with flypacificblue.com on their side. The aircraft are fresh from the Boeing factory in Seattle and will carry the most modern technology in the South Pacific as well as 180 leather seats pitched to 32” or more.


Please note from 21 March 2004 the schedule will change due to daylight saving time.


FARE INFORMATION FOR THE NEW ZEALAND ORGINATING MARKET


*As per industry practice all fares in New Zealand are shown in NZ$ and exclude taxes and charges


CHRISTCHURCH TO MELBOURNE


Promotional Fares:
Launch Special: NZ$99* - On Sale from today until 16th November for travel between March 4-March 27, 2004

Everyday Low Fares:
Mid Week Mini-Fare: NZ$159* Fair Fares (lead in price): NZ$179* Fully Flexible fare: NZ$449*


* Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights or peak days. Fares are quoted ex-New Zealand, one way on the net ($10 more by phone). Fares are exclusive of government departure tax, airport passenger service charge of $11.00 and security levy of $6.85. Prices & charges are in NZD. Mid-Week Mini-Fares are for travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only. International flights commencing 2004 subject to receipt of government approvals.


FARE INFORMATION FOR THE AUSTRALIAN ORIGINATING MARKET


*As per industry practice all fares in Australia are shown in A$ and include all taxes and charges


MELBOURNE TO CHRISTCHURCH


Promotional Fares:
Launch Special: A$149* one-way on the net - On Sale from today until 16th November for travel between March 4 and March 27, 2004

Everyday Low Fares:
Mid-Week Mini-Fare A$199* Fair fares (lead in price): $219* Fully Flexible fare: A$449*


* Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights or peak days. Fares are quoted ex-Australia one way on the net or $10 more by phone (all prices and charges are in AUD). Mid-Week Mini-Fares are for travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only. Fares are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or peak days. International flights commencing 2004 subject to receipt of government approvals.