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Virgin Blue Launches All-inclusive “The Lounge”: Low Cost Carrier Reinvents Its Award Winning Model To Further Entice Business Travellers

30/05/2006

Tuesday 30 May 2006: Virgin Blue has today simultaneously unveiled its radically transformed Blue Room Lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, launching a new-look, sophisticated all-inclusive lounge facility as the airline gathers momentum in its push for an increasing share of the corporate market.


Virgin Blue continues to reinvent itself as the world’s first New World Carrier and has redesigned its Blue Rooms to better reflect the needs and wants of business Guests and its unique airline model.


To reflect this upgrade, the new facilities have been renamed, simply, “The Lounge”. They have undergone a major multi-million dollar overhaul and offer a stylish and sophisticated environment featuring an enhanced range of business facilities and services. While the old Blue Room lounge product was based on a “user pays” concept, The Lounge is an all-inclusive facility and sets a new benchmark in corporate facilities in Australia.


Among the new key benefits that travellers will be able to enjoy in The Lounge are complimentary high quality food and beverages, a redesigned environment as well as enhanced business facilities including free wireless internet access. The corporate lounges are open from today in the key business ports Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and shortly, Adelaide. Other ports are also under consideration.


Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “We have evolved as an airline and recognise the need to be flexible in responding to the demands of travellers. While the Blue Room model was appropriate for the airline we were a few years ago, we are confident the new facility will be an exceptional asset for business travellers wanting to entertain clients, get some work done before their flight or relax with a premium drink or their preferred choice of coffee courtesy of the exclusive Barista service.”


He continued, “We conducted extensive surveys to identify ways to further heighten Virgin Blue’s appeal to the corporate and Government travel sectors. We have made significant inroads over the past 12 months, with over 50% of the top 100 ASX listed companies now travelling with Virgin Blue however there is still plenty of room for growth, particularly in relation to Government travel.”


The Lounge is the latest in a series of product initiatives for business travellers. Over the past 12 months, Virgin Blue has introduced Blue Plus fully refundable fares, a revolutionary Web-Check-in service and Velocity frequent flyer program in conjunction with National Australia Bank, Emirates, Europcar and Virgin Atlantic.


Brett Godfrey continued, “We have no qualms in adopting changes to remain relevant to our Guests and are committed to maintaining a low cost base while targeting profitable growth.”


Annual memberships or single visit passes are available, making The Lounge accessible to everyone. Annual membership to The Lounge will be $349 per year, plus a one-off joining fee of $199. When members fly, they are also able to invite a Guest to join them in The Lounge, at no additional charge. A single visit pass will be available to any Virgin Blue traveller, subject to comfortable capacity constraints, for $30.


Brett Godfrey added, “Rest assured, there will be no semi-flacid celery sticks on offer. This is a next generation lounge model offering the best of Virgin’s famous flair and service, an exclusive menu and the latest technology in a contemporary and stylish environment conducive to getting down to business or getting some down time”.


“We will be actively and enthusiastically lobbying Government departments at State and Federal levels as well as more corporate clients to try Virgin Blue as an affordable high quality alternative to the competition. We were told we needed a frequent flyer programme, we created one; we were told, to attract business and Government travellers, we needed higher frequencies on key business routes, we added them; and everyone wanted an all-inclusive high quality lounge and now they have got them too”, Brett Godfrey finished.


The official opening of The Lounge in Melbourne will feature a special Guest performance by one of Australia’s best Lounge singers, Mark Scholtez.


For further information on The Lounge, visit www.virginblue.com.au/thelounge