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Virgin Blue & Alteon Flying High with Multi-million Dollar Partnership

22/04/2004

New World Class Aviation Training Centre Lands in Brisbane

Note: Grand opening event at 12.30pm – 3 Melia Street (Brisbane Airport Precinct)


BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA, April 22, 2004 – Alteon Training L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company (NYSE BA), and Australia’s award winning low fare airline Virgin Blue will today officially open their brand new A$45-million aviation-training centre near Brisbane Airport.


The partnership between Alteon and Virgin Blue is the first truly commercial aviation simulation training centre in the Australasia Pacific region.


The 4,200-square metre facility in Queensland, Australia can accommodate up to 250 trainees per day, involving pilots, maintenance engineers, and cabin crew.


The Brisbane Aviation Training Centre will initially serve Virgin Blue Airlines, Boeing Business Jet operators, and carriers in Australia and the nearby Pacific and Asian regions.


The state of the art facility houses two full-flight aircraft simulators: one Boeing 737-800 and one 737-700/-800/-BBJ full-flight simulators. All simulators are certified to CASA Level “D” standards, which is the highest level of certification for Pilot Simulation Training.


The centre also has a number of briefing and training rooms including a special cabin crew drill room that features equipment such as an emergency exit slide, raft and the replica of an aircraft interior which is used for hands-on training and certification for airline recruits.


A number of key VIP’s from Seattle and Australia “flew in” in the Simulator especially for the opening, including Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey, Alteon President Pat Gaines and Boeing Australia President Andrew Peacock.


Premier Peter Beattie said, “This Flight Training Centre has added another 50 new jobs to the 4,500 new jobs already created in the Queensland aviation industry since my government took office in 1998."


“I am determined to cement our position as the aviation and aerospace hub for the Asia Pacific, in the same way that I have been determined to establish Queensland’s reputation as the Smart State."


The training centre will provide pilot training, aircraft maintenance training capability featuring networking and other advance technology training devices, and learning tools at the centre including workstations equipped with self-guided, computer-based training and desk-top maintenance trainers.


Virgin Blue Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said, “This joint venture is an enormous benefit to Virgin Blue, to the state of Queensland and to the aviation industry in the Asia Pacific region in that it offers a second to none facility in our own backyard.”


“For Virgin Blue it means we no longer have to go through the expense and inconvenience of sending our pilots offshore for their simulator training and we have a consolidated and convenient environment in which our pilots, cabin crew and engineers can continue to receive the highest levels of training.”


“We have always placed the highest priority on our training and our new centre is testimony to our ongoing commitment to ensure Virgin Blue and its team members remain at the cutting edge of aviation technology and pass on the benefits to our Guests.”


The Hon. Andrew Peacock, AC, president of Boeing-Australia, said the training centre illustrated Boeing's commitment to investing in Australia and its airline partners.


"This centre is another great example of the support Boeing brings to airlines in Australia and the South Pacific region," Mr Peacock said. "In addition to economic benefits for South-east Queensland, the facility will also save airlines the substantial costs of sending staff outside the region for training."


Alteon President Pat Gaines said the opening of the centre is part of the company’s global expansion strategy of establishing a worldwide network of training centres.


“We are committed to provide customer-focused solutions and cost effective quality training to support airline operators world-wide,” said Gaines. “We are consistently increasing training value by placing training centres at locations that support our customers’ operational needs.”


Alteon will manage and operate the training centre while supporting the expansion plans of Virgin Blue by fulfilling the training needs of the airline.


The Brisbane Aviation Training Centre is one of several facilities Alteon plans to strategically locate near customers throughout Australasia Pacific.


It is the company’s fourth in the region, joining the existing Alteon training centres in Kunming, P.R.C.; Seoul, Korea; and its affiliate centre in Singapore. In addition, Alteon operates numerous training centres in Europe, Africa, and the Americas.


Alteon Training is the world's preferred aviation training partner and the industry leader in providing customer-focused aviation training solutions. The company is able to provide customers an expanding and integrated services portfolio that includes flight, technical and cabin-crew training, and training materials. Alteon is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company within Boeing Commercial Airplanes' Commercial Aviation Services group. The training organisation supports the world's aviation community with more than 70 full flight simulators in 20 locations around the world. For more information, please visit www.boeing.com

Virgin Blue is Australia’s award winning low fare airline operating a fleet of 43 Boeing 737 aircraft with an average age of less than two years. The carrier currently flies to 20 destinations nationally and has recently launched Pacific Blue, its New Zealand based sister airline operating Trans Tasman services. For Virgin Blue bookings, log onto www.virginblue.com.au, phone (in Australia) our friendly Guest Contact Centre on 13 6789 or contact a travel agent.