Virgin Blue plans new domestic NZ airline

Virgin Blue and its three year old New Zealand subsidiary Pacific Blue are gearing up to launch a new domestic airline for New Zealand with flights scheduled to commence in November 2007.Initially the carrier will fly on New Zealand’s key trunk routes Auckland-Wellington, Auckland-Christchurch and Wellington-Christchurch from 15 November 2007.

Virgin Blue Group of Airlines Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “The decision was not taken lightly as it is a major investment and a long term commitment to keeping the “air fair” in New Zealand. The time is right to bring some much needed competition to the existing duopolistic market and we are excited to be opening up new travel opportunities for both the people of New Zealand as well as inbound tourists.”

The airline will take delivery of two Boeing 737-800 aircraft to join the Pacific Blue fleet and operate both international and domestic New Zealand routes.

Auckland-Wellington: Five direct daily return flights from 15 November. A special sale fare has been launched of NZ$39 one way on the Internet. The sale fare is available until 16 September 2007 or until sold out and is for travel from 15 November 2007 through 29 February 2008. Regular fares will start from NZ$69 one way on the net.

Auckland-Christchurch: Two direct daily return flights from 15 November. A special sale fare has been launched of NZ$39 one way on the Internet. The sale fare is available until 16 September 2007 or until sold out and is for travel from 15 November 2007 through 29 February 2008. Regular fares will start from NZ$79 one way on the net.

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Wellington-Christchurch: Three direct daily return flights from 15 November. A special sale fare has been launched of NZ$39 one way on the Internet. The sale fare is available until 16 September 2007 or until sold out and is for travel from 15 November 2007 through 29 February 2008. Regular fares will start from NZ$69 one way on the net.

The internal flights will complement Pacific Blue’s existing international services, providing convenient connections from within New Zealand to Australia, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

Adrian Hamilton-Manns, General Manager Commercial, said, “The people of New Zealand have supported Pacific Blue in its quest to bring true low fares, genuine competition and fun and flair to trans-Tasman travel and that very support has given us the motivation to bring the same product and affordability to the domestic market where it is much needed.

“It is no secret that the existing domestic duopoly results in higher fares and half-hearted competition and we very much look forward to challenging that and championing affordability for local travel.”

Members of the Velocity Loyalty program will also be able to earn and redeem points when they fly domestically in New Zealand. Pacific Blue plans to double its staff numbers over the next three years as it ramps up domestic operations. New Zealanders interested in joining the dynamic Pacific Blue team in a range of roles can email [email protected]
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