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Virgin Blue Announces Direct Newcastle-Brisbane Flights

04/12/2003

Huge Support Prompts Brand New Route And More Low Fares

Virgin Blue has announced it will launch daily flights between Newcastle and Brisbane on May 7 2004, just weeks after bringing its low fares and unique service to the region with daily direct flights to Melbourne.


The inaugural Virgin Blue service took off from Williamtown on 1 November 2003 and since then has been strongly supported in both directions with the aircraft flying over 80% full.


Significant demand in terms of forward bookings on its Melbourne service has given Virgin Blue the confidence to commit to offering a new route out of the region.


Virgin Blue Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said, “After becoming the only carrier servicing the Melbourne-Newcastle route, Qantas wanted everyone to believe that this was a route only worthy of small turbo props.


Virgin Blue has decided to take Newcastle seriously by putting in big jets and people have responded with their full support. We are feeling confident about the new Brisbane service and we will consider a second Newcastle-Melbourne flight in the not too distant future.”


The low fare carrier will provide the only jet aircraft flight between Newcastle and the Queensland capital, which translates to a smoother, quieter and quicker ride, shaving nearly half an hour off the existing flying time offered by its competitors.


“Qantas ignored Newcastle after they acquired Impluse but even if they start taking the city seriously again, we are confident that the people of the Hunter will realise which airline is focused on bringing them modern jets with great service and low fares.” Brett Godfrey added.


In true Virgin Blue style, a launch fare of $69* will be on sale from today until 14 December 2003, for travel between 7 May 2004 and 24 June 2004. Mid-Week Mini-Fares will start from $79* one-way, while everyday low fares will start from $89* one-way. Fully Flexible fares are available from $249* which offers a saving of more than 33% over the competitors equivalent fare.


“This new route is not just for the day return traffic to South East Queensland. People from various groups including both tourism and the mining sector, have told us that not only are they tired of flying on “bug smashers”, they also want convenient connections to destinations up north such as Mackay, Cairns and Townsville.”


The flight will depart Newcastle at 6.30am, landing in Brisbane at 7.40am. The return flight departs Brisbane at 8.50pm, landing back in Newcastle at 10.05pm.


Brett Godfrey finished, “People in Newcastle and the Hunter region have quickly realised that if they support us, we will reciprocate with more low fares, which is good for tourism, good for families and good for the economy of the entire region.”


Connecting services from Newcastle to Cairns, Mackay and Townsville will be offered with Mid-Week Mini-Fares starting from $179* to Townsville, $189* to Mackay and $239* to Cairns.


The new Brisbane service will also see an aircraft and Virgin Blue crew overnight in Newcastle for the first time.


Today’s Newcastle-Brisbane route announcement coincides with other key Virgin Blue schedule enhancements including:


A brand new direct flight three days a week between Melbourne and Darwin starting from 7 April 2004;

An increase in Brisbane-Townsville flights from 2 a day to 3 daily direct services starting 8 May 2004; and

Launch of direct daily Sydney-Townsville flights from 11 March 2004.

For Virgin Blue bookings log on to www.virginblue.com.au, call 13 6789 or contact a travel agent.


Note: Saturday flight times vary – DJ 908 departs Brisbane at 8.00pm and arrives Newcastle at 9.15pm


Note: Sunday flight times vary – DJ 901 departs Newcastle at 6.45am and arrives Brisbane at 7.55am


Virgin Blue currently operates a fleet of 40 brand new Boeing 737 aircraft with an average age of less than two years. The award winning carrier currently flies to 20 destinations nationally and has recently launched 'Pacific Blue', its New Zealand based sister airline that is due to begin services between Christchurch and Brisbane on 29 January 2004.


For Virgin Blue bookings log on to www.virginblue.com.au or call 13 6789. For Pacific Blue bookings log on to www.flypacificblue.com or call 13 1645 from Australia or 0800 670 000 from New Zealand.


* All fares are for flights booked on the Internet. $10 more by phone. The $69 launch fare offer is on sale from today until 14 December and flights are for travel from 7 May until 24 June 2004. Mid-Week Mini-Fares are for travel on Tuesday and Wednesdays. Fares are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or peak days.