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Virgin Blue and Surf Life Saving Work together to Save Lives


New National in-flight advertising campaign to increase surf safety

Wednesday 12 May 2010: Virgin Blue Airlines will be the first airline in Australia to take the surf safety messages to the skies following a number of drowning tragedies across Australian beaches.


The Hon. Peter Lawlor, Minister for Tourism and Fair Trading, today helped launch the new campaign at the Currumbin Beach Surf Life Saving Club on the Gold Coast.


The airline has joined forces with Surf Life Saving to drive home some key messages on domestic flights for those visiting Aussie beaches.


The first phase will be launched from May and will involve using the carrier's in-flight seatback TV screens to highlight the "Swim Between the Red and Yellow Flags" message via a simple still TV advertisement.  It will then be stepped up another notch in June when the airline will feature a tailor made commercial aimed at highlighting the risks associated with swimming at unsupervised beaches.


The 30 second TVC will feature three representatives from both the volunteer and paid ranks of Lifesaving and Lifeguard services that visitors to Australian beaches may encounter, and is designed to ensure that everyone can easily recognise the safest place to swim and who to look for in the event they need advice or assistance.


Virgin Blue will screen the TV commercials as a community announcement across its entire domestic network just prior to landing, targeting would be swimmers at world famous beaches all around Australia from Broome to Ballina to Burleigh Heads and Bondi.  It will be shown across every single of the airline's approximately 400 daily flights across all destinations, including those that aren't coastal, just to act as a reminder.


Chief Executive, John Borghetti, said, "Australia is very much the lucky country in many ways and our beautiful beaches are a spectacular draw card. As an airline flying to many popular coastal destinations, we are keen to play our part in highlighting the importance of beach safety."


More than 94 coastal drownings occurred in the 2008-2009 season, with almost 70% of them occurring at a beach. No-one drowned when swimming between the red and yellow flags.


Surf Life Saving Australia is urging people to heed the advice to treat the sea with respect and always swim between the red and yellow flags.



SLSA Group General Manager Michael Hornby said, "It's a very simple and clear message but often one that is ignored by those who choose to flout the advice and take on the unpredictable surf without the support of surf lifesavers and lifeguards that are trained to do just lives.  We are delighted that Virgin Blue has come on board to help us spread the 'swim between the red and yellow flags’ message and are hopeful it will translate to a safer 2010/2011 summer season as well as serve as a reminder during the winter months to be cautious when all beaches aren’t patrolled."


The national in-flight campaign initiative came about from support from Virgin Blue's own team members (some who are volunteer surf lifesavers) as well as the in-flight entertainment team who identified the surf safety message as being most appropriate for a majority Australian owned airline.


John Borghetti continued, "Virgin Blue flies more than 1-million people per month across the country and we are delighted to lend our support to Surf Life Saving Australia.

Michael Hornby added, "We are absolutely thrilled that Virgin Blue has stepped up to be the first airline to get behind this critical campaign and we have no doubt their efforts will not only help save lives but also act as a re-enforcement of the importance of volunteer surf lifesavers who generously give of their time to keep swimmers safe."


* Multi award winning airline Group Virgin Blue includes domestic Australian carrier, Virgin Blue, together with short haul international airlines, Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue. It also includes V Australia, the three class boutique style long haul airline with a unique Australian style featuring in-flight bars, mood lighting including twilight and sunset, “ladies only” bathroom, state of the art In-flight entertainment and an acclaimed Business Class offering.


Together they operate a fleet of 85 modern Boeing 737, 777 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to 30 Australian and 18 international destinations including the USA, South Africa, Thailand, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.  Founded in August 2000, the ASX listed Virgin Blue Group is headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, with more than 6,000 team members across its worldwide ports.