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Virgin Blue Lands Jet Service In Ballina/Byron Bay
Virgin Blue will touch down at Ballina/Byron Bay Gateway Airport for the first time at 12.45pm today, with an aircraft full of eager visitors and locals, the first to sample the low fares, modern red jets and outstanding customer service that the airline will introduce every day from now on.
Today’s flight heralds the launch of Virgin Blue’s daily services into the far north coast region and a new era in aviation travel for Guests flying between Sydney and Ballina/Byron Bay, with the re-introduction of a jet aircraft on the route for the first time since the withdrawal of Ansett services.
Virgin Blue spokesperson Amanda Bolger said, “We are excited to be bringing our sleek aircraft into this region and are confident travellers will appreciate the efficiency and comfort of our modern 737 jets. We also hope the low fares and the Virgin Blue style of service will appeal to those people who value friendly and reliable service that leaves them with money to spend when they get to their destination”.
The inaugural flight Guests and local dignitaries will enjoy Virgin Blue’s surprise in-flight launch activities as well as a special welcome when they land, with local producers putting on a “Tasting the region” celebration welcome event.
Among the producers are three local suppliers who are already on-board Virgin Blue. Madura Teas and Byron Bay Cookies have been included on Virgin Blue’s in-flight menu for some time, while the carrier is also poised to introduce muesli produced by Byron based Brookfarm. Other local producers to join in the welcome celebrations at the airport include Abruzii Organics, Bangalow Pork, Lyrebird Foods, MacKella Range Coffee, Madura Tea, Nirvana Coffee, Pirlos, Tridosha and Zentvelds Coffee.
Students from Ballina High School are also expected be on hand today to meet the inaugural flight’s First Officer, David Beard, who grew up in Ballina and developed his passion for flying in the High School’s two year elective Aviation Studies course.
Virgin Blue has been heartened by strong forward bookings for flights to and from Ballina/Byron Bay and is confident the route will be a popular one.
The majority of flyers are expected to be travelling for pleasure to enjoy the delights of both the inland and coastal towns or to visit family and friends, but far north coast business travellers are also set to reap the benefits. Virgin Blue’s new flight will provide them with a speedy and cost effective method of travelling to the state capital and beyond to go about their business.
Amanda Bolger continued, “There has been strong lobbying from both the tourism and business communities for Virgin Blue to begin services and also from Richard Branson following his last, and clearly enjoyable, holiday in the region. From past experience in regional centres like Coffs Harbour, we have proven that non-metropolitan communities can sustain a jet service and we look forward to generating more and more traffic not just to and from Sydney, but also beyond, with easy connecting flights available from Adelaide, Cairns, Christchurch (NZ) and Melbourne.”
The low fare carrier will operate a daily service with the flight departing Sydney at 11.35am, landing at Ballina/Byron Bay Gateway Airport at 12.45pm before turning around and departing Ballina at 1.15pm, touching down at Sydney at 2.30pm. Fares for Virgin Blue flights between Ballina and Sydney start from $85* one way on the internet.
* All fares are for flights booked on the Internet. $10 more by phone. The $149 launch fare offer is on sale from today until 8 August 2004 for travel from 7 to 30 September 2004. Fares are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or peak days.
For Virgin Blue bookings, log onto www.virginblue.com.au, phone our award winning Guest Contact Centre on 13 6789 or call a travel agent.