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Virgin Blue Opens Townsville Service As The Low Fare Gateway To Northern Queensland


Virgin Blue announced today that it will commence daily service between Brisbane and Townsville on March 15, bringing consistent low fares to North Queensland for the first time.

To celebrate the launch of its first regional service to this key business and tourism gateway, Virgin Blue is offering a special $99 one way fare for every seat in March on any booking made on the net prior to the first Brisbane -Townsville departure on March 15.

From April, Virgin Blue will offer its "fair fares" with minimal restrictions from $119 continuing its tradition of slashing airfares by more than half of what other carriers have charged.

Virgin Blue Chief Executive Officer, Brett Godfrey, said today, "We are thrilled to be venturing into North Queensland and servicing the regional travel needs of our home state. Regional customers have had to pay through the nose to cover the costs of the discounting on the East Coast trunk routes. Virgin Blue plans to bring low fares to every route we fly including many regional centres, so the big guys will have to look elsewhere for their profits."

Brett Godfrey added, "When we started the airline Richard (Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson) made a promise to look beyond the big cities. Townsville is the first of what we hope will be many regional destinations and this service is a small step in showing our appreciation for the tremendous support we have received from the people of Queensland."

While Townsville heralds Virgin Blue's entry into Northern Queensland, Brett Godfrey emphasized the airline is looking at a number of regional destinations, both in Queensland and other parts of Australia.

Brett continued "Regional centres are in many ways more attractive than the big cities. We believe that people in places like Townsville are more focused on getting good value and genuinely friendly service, the two key areas where Virgin believes it beats the big airlines hands down. Whether people are travelling for business or pleasure, most are happy to forgo airline lounges and reheated meals on a short flight in order to have more money in their pocket when they arrive at their destination."

Virgin Blue will initially operate a midday return service between Brisbane and Townsville, and the airline plans to offer connecting flights to the Southern Capitals as well as additional frequencies in the near future.

Since its start-up six months ago, Virgin Blue has focused on major cities as well as routes that have been ignored by the big airlines, resulting in growth ranging from 20% to as much as 100% wherever they have flown.