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International Inbound Monopoly Broken By Tremendous Growth at Virgin Blue

03/06/2004

Virgin Blue, recently voted by OAG as the world’s best low cost carrier, announced at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Melbourne today that international inbound sales are up 243% on last year. From its start only four years ago the airline has moved from virtually no inbound business, to revenues representing over 10% of its $1.8 billion turnover.


Global Sales Manager, Jon Marshall, said “While we had a pretty good year in 2003 with a 75% revenue growth from international markets, today’s result of over 200% growth shows that our commitment to offering a real alternative to Qantas on inbound business is paying off.”


He continued, “We made a conscious decision to break the dominance that our competitor has had on the inbound market by providing a genuine alternative for carriers outside of Oneworld as well as our international travel trade partners.”


Last year Virgin Blue announced a limited participation in both the Sabre and Galileo GDS systems to allow overseas agents access to its flights. Key growth has come from the critical UK, European and US markets because of their familiarity with the Virgin brand and their understanding of the Low Cost Carrier model.


Mr Marshall said ”We took the decision to offer Virgin Blue in two major GDS systems and in the medium term we hope to expand the relationship to Amadeus and Worldspan. Whilst the web is our key distribution point, targeted GDS bookings with cost recovery now represent a growing portion of our overall business from the international market, so, used wisely, it has been an investment that has paid off.”


Virgin Blue’s recently expanded code share services with United Airlines will also benefit international Guests who will be able to seamlessly connect on to Virgin Blue flights to and from Adelaide, Cairns, the Gold Coast and Perth, in addition to Sydney and Brisbane. This means inbound travellers will enjoy the added convenience of a single United Airlines flight number for the entire trip as well as earning frequent flyer points throughout their journey.


Virgin Blue confirmed its plans to continue to grow its business from the international market with a range of high quality, low cost product enhancements including the innovative Blue Pass fare. The new Blue Pass fare is designed purely for the international market and offers inbound Guests access to good flight deals and greater flexibility with their Australian domestic air needs


Virgin Blue’s Blue Pass fares are only available for sale via the international travel trade for set one-way sector fares with no minimum purchase required. They are valid for 12 months and can be combined with flight itineraries from any international carrier.


Currently Virgin Blue has a third of the Australian domestic market and is the only low cost carrier in the world with national coverage, flying 44 aircraft on 43 routes to 21 destinations around the country.


Virgin Blue was announced 2004 World’s Best Low Cost Carrier in the recent OAG Awards, after only four years of operation against established carriers such as Southwest, easyJet and Ryanair.