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Virgin Blue Calls For An End To ’Airfare Advertising Confusion’

18/02/2005

Virgin Blue said today it would applaud a legislated end to ‘airfare confusion’ and would strongly support an industry standard that enforced all domestic carriers to advertise their fares, showing consumers a straight forward, single price, inclusive of all fees, taxes and charges.


“We welcome news that the ACCC has written to the Federal Treasurer calling for a change to legislation to end two part pricing strategies,” said Brett Godfrey, Virgin Blue Chief Executive Officer.


“For the past two years all Australian domestic airlines advertised fully inclusive fares. We were complying with an undertaking entered into by all major domestic airlines at the initiative of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).


“Virgin Blue could not have been more comfortable with that situation, we believed and
we still do, that Australians shouldn’t need a calculator and a magnifying glass to work out ads for airfares. Air travel is complicated enough; we think most people prefer one price – what you see is what you should pay.


“Regrettably not all airlines feel the same. Recently our competitors, Qantas and Jetstar, identified court precedents which allowed them to supplant the ACCC undertaking and swiftly commenced advertising incredibly low fares – with taxes, charges, levies, fees etc mentioned in the small print.


“In such a competitive industry it is difficult and somewhat disappointing to be put in a position where, in order to remain competitive in the market we must present our fares in the same manner.


“Overall we think it’s a regressive practice, we think our customers and travel agency partners will feel the same way, and we would urge the debate to continue in the hope that an independent party can bring an end to airfare advertising confusion.


We have conveyed our views to the ACCC and the Australian Consumers Association and we will continue to support the push for legislated all inclusive pricing as an airline industry standard. To our customers, we apologise that until sense prevails, we are forced to match the pricing manoeuvres of our competitors.”