Virgin Blue will launch direct flights between Hobart and Melbourne on the airline’s second birthday, August 31, heralding double celebrations for both the new route and two years of Virgin Blue’s low fares and great service.
Tasmanian Premier, Jim Bacon and Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey, made the announcement at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Brisbane, signalling the low fare carrier’s view that no capital city be forced to endure monopolistic pricing.
The people of Hobart had a brief taste of real competition a year ago before Qantas swallowed up Impulse and since then, the fares have crept up from $66 and even lower, to $99 plus taxes or charges.
Virgin Blue is bringing back the $66 fare (plus taxes and charges of $16.22 totalling $82.22) as an introductory offer, while everyday low fares will start from $83 one-way plus taxes and charges, which means $99.22 one-way including taxes and charges, as opposed to Qantas’s $99 plus taxes and charges.
The special launch fare between the Victorian and Tasmanian capitals is on sale from 31 May to 7 June, with 66 seats on all flights available for $66* one-way, for travel between 31 August and 5 September.
Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey said, The decision to launch flights to Hobart follows Virgin Blue’s entry in to Tasmania last September and the huge popularity of those services. With only one player in the Hobart market at the moment, people have been screaming out for competition to keep Qantas on its toes and we are excited to come in and do just that.
He continued, We are the only airline to take Tasmania seriously by offering a large 737 jet service to Launceston and Hobart as we believe it deserves the same level of service as the rest of the country. Many Tasmanians told us that the brief Impulse experience opened their eyes to the real benefits of competition and they are willing to back the airline that is sincere about long term low fares and comfortable, efficient, on-time aircraft, Brett Godfrey finished.
Virgin Blue has been working closely with the Tasmanian Government, Hobart International Airport and Tourism Tasmania regarding Virgin Blue’s entry in to Hobart, which will allow visitors increased access to all the natural wonders Tasmania has to offer.
The daily flights will operate out of the former Ansett terminal following negotiations with the airport on commercial terms that will allow the low fare carrier to continue offering its low fare/high quality service.