Pacific Blue Reaches Out To Rarotonga18/06/2004
Virgin Blue today announced that its sister airline, Pacific Blue (Australia), would be preparing an application to fly to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.
The low fare airline intends to start services before the end of the year, subject to the outcome of commercial negotiations and regulatory approvals.
Pacific Blue hopes to offer Australian travellers an affordable and convenient service to the Cook Islands, one of the leading tourism destinations of the South Pacific.
The airline will review using "5th Freedom" rights that will also allow passengers to join or leave the flight during its planned en route stop in Christchurch.
Today's announcement follows Pacific Blue's commencement of sales this week for services from Australia to Vanuatu and Fiji that will start in September*. It represents the next step in the airline's plan to fly throughout the South Pacific.
David Huttner, Head of Strategy and Communications for Virgin Blue/Pacific Blue, was in Rarotonga today to meet with Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, the Hon. Dr. Robert Woonton, and other key government officials and tourism industry leaders.
During the talks he highlighted, "In the past the Cook Islands had the chance to experience the benefits of airline competition and the positive impact it had on the economy. Since that competition disappeared, it has become clear that a monopoly is certainly not in the best interests of the tourism industry which is so vital to the economy of the Cook Islands.”
“Pacific Blue believes it can bring sustainable competition to the Cook Islands, a truly beautiful and laid back holiday destination, and in time we hope to offer the same benefits throughout the South Pacific", he finished.
Pacific Blue is the sister airline of Australian based Virgin Blue Airlines Pty Ltd, winner of the 2004 OAG Best Low Cost Airline of the year award. Currently Virgin Blue has a third of the Australian domestic market and the youngest fleet in the world, flying 44 aircraft on 43 routes to 21 destinations around the country.
* Flights are subject to receipt of government approvals