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Virgin Blue Can Go The Distance


Airline Gets "Etops" Approval

Virgin Blue’s commitment to safety has been recognised with the carrier being granted approval by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to fly the most direct routes to each of its destinations.

The airline was given the thumbs up by CASA to carry out “Extended Twin Engine Operations” (ETOPS) which allows it to fly directly to destinations, over water and land, without the requirement to remain within one hours flying time from an airport.

Up until now, Virgin Blue’s flight paths were plotted in line with the proximity alternate airport requirement, which sometimes meant flying a less direct route.

ETOPS approval means the carrier is now qualified to fly the most direct flight path, resulting in quicker flights for Guests, along with increased fuel efficiencies and less impact on the environment.

Head of Virgin Blue Engineering, Michael Hockin said, “Our team has been working very closely with CASA over many months as permission is only granted to carriers with a proven track record.”

“We are delighted with the approval and see it as a vote of confidence in Virgin Blue’s flight operations, navigation services and aircraft engineering programs. It is also an endorsement of the reliability of our modern Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft fleet.”

He continued, ‘This allows Virgin Blue to maintain the highest safety levels, while continuing our focus on timely service and delivering our Guests to their destinations in the shortest possible time.”

ETOPS approval also opens up additional future route options, both domestically and internationally.

“Virgin Blue’s expansion plans will benefit from the flexibility allowed by the new ETOPS approval”, Michael Hockin finished.

Virgin Blue currently operates a fleet of 35 brand new Boeing 737 aircraft with an average age of less than two years. The award winning carrier currently flies to 20 destinations nationally and has recently launched 'Pacific Blue', its New Zealand based sister airline that is due to begin services between Christchurch and Brisbane on 1 February 2004.

For Virgin Blue bookings log on to or call 13 6789. For Pacific Blue bookings log on to or call 13 1645 from Australia or 0800 670 000 from New Zealand.