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Virgin Blue Airlines To Take Flight On 3 August 2000

09/07/2000

Virgin Blue Airlines will officially take to the Australian skies as of Thursday August 3 with its first commercial flight scheduled to depart from the airline's home base of Brisbane for Sydney's new Domestic Express Terminal.


VIRGIN Group chairman, Richard Branson, flew in to Brisbane to announce the launch date and take part in pre-launch celebrations.


The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has advised Virgin Blue Airlines that its application for an Air Operators Certificate is on target for the early August kick-off, subject to the completion of remaining regulatory requirements.


Richard Branson said, "The team has worked tirelessly over the past seven months and we are really looking forward to providing the Australian travelling public with the type of service that VIRGIN is renowned for. I am both excited and proud and we simply ask that people give us a go."


He continued, "For far too long, domestic prices have been far too high, with far too many restrictions and it's about time Australians can fly without having to spend their entire pay packet. We are here to keep the air fair and we plan to give it our best shot."


Customers who want to fly Virgin Blue can book on the website www.virginblue.com.au, or call Virgin Blue reservations line direct on 13 6789 or, contact their local travel agent starting today.


Peter Beattie, Queensland Premier, Koen Rooijmans, CEO of Brisbane Airport Corporation and Brett Godfrey, CEO of Virgin Blue, joined Richard Branson at the press conference.


The airline will honour its promise of offering half the seats for under $100 one way, despite GST and higher fuel prices.


Today Richard Branson announced Virgin Blue will actually go one better, offering a special one way launch fare of $99 for every seat on flights between Brisbane and Sydney.


This offer will be available for anyone who books prior to the first scheduled flight on August 3.


Every seat on Virgin Blue flights between launch day and October 28 will be available at this price, even for travel during the peak Olympic period.


The long term fares structure will be announced prior to the first commercial flight, but Virgin Blue confirms it will stick to its low fare pledge.


Virgin Blue CEO, Brett Godfrey, said, "It's great to see our competitors have already dropped their fares in anticipation of our arrival. We've actually managed to lower the cost of flying without even having a plane in the air."


Brett Godfrey continued, "Virgin Blue is also very appreciative of the level of commitment displayed by CASA in processing our Air Operators Certificate."


The airline will initially operate 7 daily return services between Brisbane and Sydney, with Brisbane-Melbourne flights to follow soon after.


Virgin Blue currently has 280 staff members, including pilots, flight attendants, customer service and pit crew, reservations agents, management and administration staff.


The second round of recruitment will begin soon to identify staff needed when new aircraft are introduced.


Applications can be sent directly to the specially set up e-mail address jobs@virginblue.com.au OR made through our website at www.virginblue.com.au


Two 737-400 aircraft will be in service during the initial launch phase, with three more planned to be introduced into the fleet by the end of the year.


Australian singing sensation Natalie Imbruglia flew home from the UK especially to take part in pre-launch celebrations, joining Richard Branson in christening Virgin Blue first 737-400 aircraft, "BLUE Belle".


The name was suggested by Virgin Blue Human Resources Project Manager, Nikola Smit, who came up with "BLUE Belle" off the top of her head, in contrast to the so called creative team who had spent hours trying to come up with a name.


"BLUE Belle" especially tickled the fancy of Richard Branson who described it as both "appropriate and sexy."