Surf Meets Snow - Low Fare Link With Nation's Capital12/07/2001
Virgin Blue Launches Direct Canberra-Brisbane Flight
Australia's true blue low fare carrier, Virgin Blue, today touched down in Canberra for the first time, offering ACT locals a fresh alternative in air travel.
Virgin Blue's bright red 737 aircraft landed at 11.30am, officially launching the airline's daily direct service between Brisbane and Canberra.
The Brisbane-Canberra route is further evidence of Virgin Blue's growth plans in the Australian market, with today's flight marking the start-up of the airline's eighth route since it took to Australian skies almost 12 months ago.
The new service will provide ACT and regional New South Wales residents with the opportunity to head north for some surf and sunshine, while South East Queenslanders will be able to fly to Canberra to explore the nation's historic capital or hit the popular Snowy Mountain ski slopes.
Virgin Blue has enhanced the quality of air travel on the route by being the first to introduce larger, more comfortable jet aircraft services between these two key capitals.
Spokesperson, Amanda Bolger, said, "Launching the Brisbane-Canberra service is all about providing a low fare option to the people of Canberra and Brisbane and growing the traffic between the two cities. It is also evidence of Virgin Blue's commitment to the Australian market and a vital part of our strategic growth plan."
She continued, "Up until now, those flying in and out of Canberra have been forced to pay through the nose because the routes are heavily dominated by Government traffic and airlines have been able to command high yields. Through no fault of its own, the Government has been forced to pay exorbitant fares and in turn these costs have been the burden of taxpayers. As for leisure travellers, many of them have been locked out of affordable air travel altogether."
It's hoped the low fares will especially appeal to commuters who travel between Canberra and Brisbane for work but are tired of having to book weeks in advance to get a good deal, having to pay extra if they don't want to spend their Saturday night away, or being stuck with a ticket they can't use if their plans change.
Virgin Blue's Brisbane-Canberra one-way fares start from $119, while its one-way walk-up (Y fare) is $249 compared to Qantas's lowest one-way fare of $122 and its one-way walk-up (Y fare) of $397.
"We will initially begin with one return service between Canberra and Brisbane and are committed to offering a long term low fare option to the people of Canberra. We will look at increasing both frequency and destination choices as support and demand grows," finished Amanda Bolger.
Virgin Blue operates the most modern, technologically advanced aircraft in Australia today, with an average age of less than 5 years, compared with Ansett's average fleet age of 11.7 years and Qantas with an average fleet age of 10.8 years. (Salomon Smith Barney 2001 Fleet handbook)