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Virgin Blue Takes Out AFTA NTIA Award Trifecta


Virgin Blue voted ‘Best National’ and ‘Best Regional Airline’ three years in a row and inducted into the afta NTIA Hall of Fame

Virgin Blue is flying high after receiving two top airline awards at the 2008 afta (Australian Federation of Travel Agents) National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA).


For the third year running Virgin Blue has taken out Australia’s ‘Best National Airline’ and Australia’s ‘Best Regional Airline’ awards over finalists Qantas for the national award and REX and Qantaslink for the regional award. On top of the two awards Virgin Blue was also inducted into the afta NTIA Hall of Fame.


afta represents the majority of travel agents in Australia and the annual travel industry awards recognise the industry’s leading companies from a range of travel sectors including airlines, hotels, travel agents, car rental companies and wholesalers.


A record number of nominees were received for this year’s awards, with the finalists nominated by travel agents who then vote for their favourite out of the shortlist based on personal experience in their dealings with the company from their own and their client’s (the traveller’s) perspective.


Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “To be nominated and recognised as the best regional and best national airline by our industry peers not once, not twice, but three times in as many years is quite an honour.


“We value the relationships we have with travel agencies and individual agents and winning these awards is a reflection of the commitment and service provided by our outstanding team.”


Virgin Blue’s John Kelly, Industry Sales Manager, Alan Brooks, Regional Industry Sales Manager, Lesley Owen, Manager Travel Industry Sales and Gary Manuel, Sales Development Manager - Industry accepted the awards to rapturous applause at a special ceremony held at The Westin Hotel in Sydney over the weekend. Over 850 industry professionals attended the event.


On presenting the awards AFTA Chief Executive, Mike Hatton, said on the night, “Achievement of a finalist status clearly shows the recognition of your peers of your contribution to our Industry and recognition by ones peers is the greatest recognition that any industry can bestow”.


The award criteria are based on a combination of factors including customer service, product and innovation.


Multi award winning airline Virgin Blue and international carriers Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue currently operate a fleet of 68 modern Boeing 737 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to 24 Australian and eight international destinations including New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands. Virgin Blue was the first airline in the world to launch a Government-certified carbon offset program, where Guests can offset the carbon emissions from their flights. Virgin Blue Group has also announced plans to launch Australia's newest international airline, V Australia, set to commence flights between Australia and the USA from late 2008, subject to regulatory approvals.