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Virgin Blue Fast Forwards Flights To Tassie


Direct Melbourne-Launceston Service From Nov 8

Virgin Blue will begin flights between Melbourne and Launceston three weeks ahead of schedule from November 8, in response to overwhelming public demand following the collapse of Ansett Mark I.

Virgin Blue had committed to begin services to Tasmania at the beginning of December but fast-tracked the original route launch plan in light of the current capacity crisis facing Tassie travellers.

Virgin Blue's latest brand new Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft will touch down in Australia tomorrow and spend a brief period being "Virginised" before being put in to service on various routes including the new Melbourne-Launceston flights.

To celebrate the early arrival of Virgin Blue, a number of $50* one way flights are up for grabs for bookings made within the next 7 days, for travel from November 8-November 14.

Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said "We are very aware of the difficulties currently facing travellers, especially in the lead up to the busy Christmas period, and are happy to be able to introduce our service to Tasmania early. We have also confirmed the delivery of five additional aircraft to be in service by the end of this year, and those aircraft will be deployed to routes where there is the greatest need. Tasmania has limited alternate travel options and is therefore a top priority for Virgin us."

He continued, "The demise of Ansett is having an adverse impact on the tourism industry, as well as individual travellers, and Virgin Blue is increasing its growth plans sooner than expected to try and alleviate some of the pressure regarding lack of seat availability and high prices in the Tasmanian market."

Virgin Blue expects to carry Guest number 2,000,000 next week, two months ahead of projections and just three months after welcoming its 1-millionth passenger.

"The Australian aviation industry is experiencing one of its most volatile periods ever. Virgin Blue recognises the need to be flexible, pro-active and responsive to changing circumstances while at the same time bucking the current high airfare trend and maintaining low fares.

We have increased our expansion plans thanks to the hugely committed and talented people at Virgin Blue, who are working their hardest to ensure we continue to increase frequency on existing routes and open up new destinations across Australian, including other Tasmanian centres ", Brett Godfrey finished.

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)