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Virgin Blue Brings A Smile To The Apple Isle


Launceston Lands Low Fares - $50 for 15 Days

Tasmania will soon be included on Virgin Blue's growing list of destinations, with Richard Branson today announcing direct flights between Melbourne and Launceston from December 1.

In line with Virgin Blue tradition, a special one-off launch fare of $50.00* for 15 days will be up for grabs for flights from December 1 to December 15 for bookings made this month (or until sold out).

The Virgin Blue team, including owner Richard Branson and Chief Executive Brett Godfrey, made a flying visit to Launceston on one of Virgin Blue's brand new shiny red aircraft especially to make the announcement.

Richard Branson said, "North Tasmanian's in particular have been deprived of decent fares simply because they are isolated from that other island to the north by water. Virgin Blue is delighted to be providing genuine competition and its unique award winning service to a region that up until now, has been literally cut off from low fares."

Virgin Blue will offer daily direct flights from Launceston to Melbourne, ideal for the cost-concious business traveller as well as families whose friends and loved ones live across the Straight.

The airline will launch with one service initially, with the second daily flight to be introduced to coincide with the arrival of another brand new Next Generation Boeing 737 jet.

Virgin Blue's new service will provide an affordable option for those wanting to travel to Tasmania to engage in some "devilish" sightseeing, or enjoy the region's rich history or famous natural wonders, such as Cradle Mountain.

Virgin Blue's everyday low fares will start from $77* one way, with a fully flexible fare of $174.00* one way compared to the competition fully flexible fare of $304.00 one way.

Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey said, "We think it's shameful that the people of Northern Tasmania have been forced to pay more for flights than those living in Hobart, everyone in Tasmania should have access to affordable fares".

Virgin Blue is eager to ensure airfare equality for Launceston and at the same time, offer the only 737 jet service in and out of Northern Tasmania.

He continued, "We don't subscribe to the other airlines' old fashioned belief that people in the regions want to pay high fares just to sit on cramped aircraft. The popularity of our Townsville service has proven that regional centres can sustain a low fare service and we are confident we'll get the same support from the people of Launceston."

Virgin Blue operates the most modern, technologically advanced aircraft in Australia today, with an average age of less than 5 years, compared with Ansett's average fleet age of 11.7 years and Qantas with an average fleet age of 10.8 years. (Salomon Smith Barney 2001 Fleet handbook)

Comparison of one-way fares between Melbourne and Launceston


 Virgin BlueCompetitionVirgin Blue lower by %
General Discount$77.00$88.0012.5%
Y fare (walk-up)$174.00$304.0042%

* All fares noted are based on bookings on the net. As per Virgin Blue policy, seats booked over the phone are $5.00 more.