Best Airline Australia Pacific
Best Airline Staff Service Australia Pacific
2 November 2007: Albury, Australia: Virgin Blue Airlines today announced it will launch flights to the city of Albury^ after a 12 month evaluation process. The team made a flying visit to the city in the new E-Jet to make the announcement, dressed as Santa and his Elves bringing an early Christmas present of $69* launch fares and an executive style jet aircraft service to the people of the Albury-Wodonga region.
Virgin Blue’s validation team and commercial team members conducted numerous visits to Albury over recent months to ascertain the viability for Virgin Blue to begin services to the region. Albury was included on a short list of more than 20 regional airports around Australia under consideration following the delivery of the first of 20 new EMBRAER E-jet’s direct from Brazil.
The aircraft is slightly smaller than Virgin Blue’s existing 737 aircraft which means a plethora of new destination options, low fares, competition and affordability for more regional communities across the country, including Albury.
Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “Albury was a clear front runner from the moment our team touched down there due to the enthusiastic response, its demographics and existing airport facilities. The EMBRAER E-Jet is ideally suited to markets of this size and we are very much looking forward to bringing Virgin Blue flights to the people of Albury for the first time.”
Virgin Blue worked in close consultation with the Council who were an enthusiastic campaigner and supporter for additional air services.
The airline will launch flights between Albury and Sydney from 5 February 2008, offering an immediate double daily service for the convenience of both Albury and Sydney Guests.
Brett Godfrey continued, “Our research has indicated that a jet aircraft service is highly desirable and top of the “wish list” for travellers so we have listened to these needs and will launch with not just one flight but two flights a day and we are hopeful of getting our fair share of support in return.”
To celebrate the announcement, Virgin Blue has launched a “Ho Ho Ho Jingle Jet” fare of $69* one way on the internet on sale now until 16 November 2007 for travel between 4 February 2008 to 15 March 2008 and 29 April to 26 June 2008.
The airline will initially launch with a Sydney-Albury service and will closely monitor demand for that route before evaluating other potential new routes in and out of Albury.
Brett Godfrey added, “The E-Jet will usher in a new era of air services for Albury, we are keen to banish the days where regional centres are only serviced by turbo prop aircraft and we are adamant that in centres like Albury, travellers are just as deserving of high quality, efficient and affordable flights as capital city commuters, whether they are travelling for business or pleasure.”
The flying time between Albury and Sydney will be approximately 40 minutes and Guests will have the option of either an aisle or window seat in the executive style 2x2 leather seating configuration.
Today’s announcement came hot on the heels of yesterday’s unveiling of Port Macquarie as a new E-Jet route also from February next year.
The E-Jet will also provide Virgin Blue with greater flexibility and the ability to increase frequencies on existing routes. Along with brand new destinations, it will also allow the airline to re-enter the high frequency Canberra-Sydney route from February 2008.
Virgin Blue will continue to evaluate other potential new ports for the EMBRAER to service with the 20 aircraft being delivered over the next 18 months.
Brett Godfrey finished, “This is the beginning of a new and exciting phase and Albury is the first of many new ports that will benefit from the increased competition as Virgin Blue continues to expand its route network.”
Virgin Blue will offer connections from Albury via Sydney to Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne and Perth.
^ Subject to regulatory approval
* All fares are for flights booked on the internet or $15 more when booked by phone. Fares are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or peak times. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one way flight is applicable. For Virgin Blue bookings log on to www.virginblue.com.au or phone our award winning Guest Contact Centre on 13 6789 or contact a travel agent