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Virgin Blue Announces Sydney-Alice Springs Flights
Virgin Blue today announced flights between Sydney and Alice Springs offering competition to another key regional centre.
The daily service will begin from June 5 offering value for money air travel to one of Australia’s key tourist destinations. It follows strong lobbying by the people of Alice Springs, NT Airports and the NT Government through the Northern Territory Tourism Commission, to ensure that the people of Alice Springs get the benefits of the low airfare competition that is now being enjoyed by much of the rest of the country.
Virgin Blue expects to add approximately 1000 low-fare seats per week to this key tourism destination.
Alice Springs is the third new leisure destination to be announced in the past two months joining the Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) and Broome as the newest routes in Virgin Blue’s low fare network.
To celebrate the announcement, Virgin Blue is offering a “red hot launch fare” of $149* one-way on the net. This fare will be available for sale until the end of March and will be offered for at least 50 seats on every flight to and from Alice Springs during the first two weeks of services from 5 June to 18 June.
Virgin Blue’s everyday fares will start from $199* one-way on the net, with the Fully Flexible fare of $460* one-way on the net, 33% lower than the Qantas equivalent fare of $684.
The airline has put in place convenient midday schedules, with convenient connections to and from Adelaide, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne.
Head of Commercial David Huttner, in Darwin today, said “The people and tourism industry of the Red Centre have committed to backing the airline that’s going to bring them low fares. With such a strong public undertaking, we felt obliged to give them a go. Clearly, if that commitment is realised, we will be looking to add more services to and from Alice Springs in the future. The groups that have lobbied us have made it clear that they understand that if you want competition, you have to back competition.”
He continued “The Red Centre has learned the true cost of being beholden to a monopoly player, and as long as they remember how much air fares cost up until this day, we believe they will realise there is only one airline who holds low fares and great service as core to their beliefs.”
Virgin Blue is expecting the usual drop in price from the high fare airline currently servicing the Sydney-Alice Springs route but it will continue to lobby for its fair share of traffic from major tour operators, local business and government who want to ensure the service is sustainable.
Alice will be the second NT destination Virgin Blue will be flying to after Darwin services began in December 2001.
With new rail services between Darwin and Alice Springs opening soon, as well as the current global events beyond Australia’s shores, the airline sees domestic tourism as a key growth market in the region.
The regional centre serves as the gateway to attractions such as Kings Canyon and Uluru and offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in ancient dreamtime lore.
Todays news is positive for both tourists travelling to Alice Springs from the East Coast as well as for Alice Springs locals who will be able to take advantage of the great fares to do business or visit friends and family in all major East Coast centres.
* All fares include the passenger ticket levy, airport charges and the global security charge and are for flights booked on the Internet. $10 more by phone. At least 50 seats on every flight between 5 and 18 June inclusive will be available at these fares if purchased before the completion of this special offer at 2359 (AEST) on March 31, 2003.