Virgin Blue Guests travelling to and from Canberra are set to benefit from an agreement to allow Virgin Blue to operate from the former Ansett terminal facility.
The low fare airline expects to move within the next 10 days after it reached agreement with Canberra Airport to relocate from its existing space at the Common User counters to the more spacious former Ansett area.
Virgin Blue Chief Operating Officer Rob Sherrard said, “This will be a great step forward for Virgin Blue and our Guests as it means more space, more convenience and more room to grow.”
He continued, “With Virgin Blue making inroads in to Qantas’s former monopoly on Federal Government travel, larger and better quality facilities are needed for further growth in the ACT.”
Canberra International Airport Managing Director, Stephen Byron says, “We welcome the announcement and believe it provides a strong incentive for Virgin Blue to increase the frequency of its services to the national capital.”
He added, “We have negotiated an agreement that will enable Virgin Blue to continue to expand its operations, grow the business but still maintain discount fares to its Guests.
Virgin Blue plays an especially important role in the region offering a high quality, value for money option to business travellers as well as an affordable alternative for those wanting to visit friends and family interstate.”
The airline will be operating in a Common User facility with room for other airlines but will be allowed to install its own modern and cost effective IT, departure and baggage control systems to ensure Virgin Blue can keep its costs and fares low.
Canberra joins a number of other airports including Brisbane, Melbourne, Cairns and the Gold Coast in facilitating Virgin Blue’s smooth transition to bigger facilities while allowing it to maintain its economic and efficient systems.
“Clearly if our share of the Federal Government travel market rose to equal our share in the private sector, we are confident we will be able to add more services and greater frequencies to and from Canberra,” finished Rob Sherrard.
Virgin Blue currently has 6 flights a day to and from Canberra
Virgin Blue flies from Canberra non-stop to Brisbane and Melbourne
Virgin Blue offers connecting flights from Canberra to Launceston, Adelaide, Cairns and shortly Hobart
Virgin Blue has 21 aircraft in its fleet including the brand new Next Generation Boeing 737-800 with revolutionary winglet technology
24th July 2002
VIRGIN BLUE URGES MINISTER OF TRANSPORT TO INTERVENE
Virgin Blue has written today to Minister of Transport, The Honourable John Anderson, to intervene to break the inpasse on access to the Ansett terminal at Sydney Airport.
Virgin Blue has asked him to direct the Department of Transport and Regional Services to urgently form a working group between the airlines and the airport so that the present deadlock can be broken.
Virgin Blue has offered to work alongside representatives from the airport, Qantas and Australiawide to ensure that the development of the former Ansett terminal meets the needs of all parties.
The presence of Transport officials will also ensure that the interest of any new entrant carrier will be properly represented in a way that is balanced and is not meant to drive any party’s particular agenda.
Virgin Blue Deputy CEO, Rob Sherrard, stated, “We hope the Sydney Airport Board meeting on Friday will break the deadlock with an expedient solution that meets the needs of the travelling public, otherwise the Department seems to be the only neutral body that will be able to cut through some of the bureaucracy and misleading statements impacting on Virgin Blue and our customers.”
Virgin Blue would welcome the opportunity to attend such a meeting at any location at the earliest possible date as the situation is urgent.
23rd July 2002
VIRGIN BLUE AND MELBOURNE AIRPORT
REACH TERMINAL DEAL
TUESDAY 23 JULY 2002: Melbourne Airport and Virgin Blue have reached a 10-year agreement for the airline to operate from the former Ansett/Southern Domestic Terminal, providing Virgin Blue with much needed room to expand as well as a more efficient, comfortable facility for the increasing number of Virgin Blue Guests.
Rapid expansion has seen Virgin Blue outgrow the Domestic Express Terminal, which Melbourne Airport built for them and Impulse Airlines back in December 2000, when all existing domestic gates were controlled by Ansett and Qantas.
Once Virgin Blue moves up to the Southern Domestic Terminal, which could be in the next 30 days, there will be no terminal or gate constraints on the growing low fare carrier. The Domestic Express Terminal currently provides Virgin Blue with five gates. The new terminal will initially provide seven, an increase of 40%, with further gates to be made available as required.
Virgin Blue Chief Operating Officer, Rob Sherrard, said “The agreement means we can forge ahead with our accelerated growth plans which involve more flights in and out of Melbourne, and more low fares for people travelling to and from Melbourne. We are excited to have reached a mutually beneficial agreement with Melbourne Airport which will allow Virgin Blue to move in to the bigger terminal at a reasonable cost, providing our Guests with a more convenient, efficient and user-friendly facility.”
He continued, “It also means that we’ve moved towards addressing the needs of our growing number of corporate and business travellers in two out of three of Australia’s biggest airports.”
Melbourne Airport’s CEO Chris Barlow is also pleased to be welcoming Virgin Blue back into the main terminal building. “It seems like only yesterday that we officially opened the Domestic Express Terminal. Virgin Blue has expanded rapidly while running a well managed on-time airline and I`m so pleased that we are in a position to provide them with the extra space they need to continue to grow. And it’s wonderful to welcome them back into the main terminal building, this time with surety of expansion potential.
“We also have plans to refurbish our domestic terminal to provide a totally seamless experience for passengers connecting to and from international flights.
“Additionally, now that we have a multi-user domestic terminal in Melbourne, it means that no airline will face the same difficulty Virgin Blue and Impulse Airlines did in trying to obtain terminal space. We will be able to offer space to any airline wishing to fly to and from Melbourne. It’s a great outcome for the travelling public,” he said.
Virgin Blue will operate from Gates 1 - 7 on former Ansett Concourse A. Virgin Blue will share the Southern Domestic Terminal with Kendell Airlines.
Virgin Blue operates 70 flights per day to and from Melbourne.
Virgin Blue now flies non-stop from Melbourne to Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Gold Coast, Launceston, Perth, Sydney and shortly Hobart. Information can be found at Virgin Blue’s website: www.virginblue.com.au
Melbourne Airport acquired the former Ansett Terminal - now known as the Southern Domestic Terminal - in May this year at a cost of $25 million, and is currently assessing plans for a multi-million dollar upgrade program for the terminal. The upgrade will not interfere with airline operations and passenger convenience.
Melbourne Airport built the Domestic Express Terminal in December 2000 for Virgin Blue and Impulse Airlines at a cost of around $9 million. When Virgin relocates, the terminal is likely to be used as a freight facility. The forward lounge will be dismantled and put up for sale.
Melbourne Airport handled just over 13.5 million domestic passengers in financial year 2000-2001.
9th July 2002
VIRGIN BLUE WELCOMES ABOARD ITS 5-MILLIONTH GUEST
SCHEDULE INCREASES - MORE FLIGHTS, MORE LOW FARES AND MORE CONVENIENCE
Virgin Blue will today mark another milestone by checking in its 5-millionth Guest, just 12 months after celebrating the carriage of its millionth Guest.
The airline expects he or she to check in this morning at Adelaide airport for the 9.45am flight to Melbourne where they will be given a champagne shower by the Virgin Blue ground crew and a bag of goodies to mark the occasion.
Brett Godfrey, Virgin Blue Chief Executive said, “It took us 12 months to reach our millionth passenger and in the second year, we’ve quadrupled it, highlighting our commitment to expansion and our determination to ensure real aviation competition in our country is honoured.
We are thrilled by our continued growth, the continued support from the Australian public and our future plans which include low fares to new destinations, new terminal facilities at a number of key ports and innovative new concepts to enhance the Virgin Blue travel experience for our business Guests.
Additional news for key Virgin Blue cities
The airline has also announced a number of significant schedule improvements and increased frequencies following overwhelming demand on a number of key routes, especially the recently introduced Perth-Sydney service. The extra flights will begin from late August when new aircraft arrive from the Boeing factory in Seattle. It means for people living in…
Adelaide: A new convenient morning departure to Melbourne at 8.30am taking the number of flights to Melbourne to 6 a day. Flights from Adelaide to Hobart will also be available from August 31 via Melbourne, with a brief connection time of 30 minutes or for another Tassie option, a new Adelaide-Launceston connection via Melbourne. This is also on top of the recent daily direct Adelaide-Gold Coast route.
Brisbane: An extra flight to Sydney leaving at 7.55am and arriving in Sydney at 9.30am to cater for those business Guests who need a little bit of extra sleep and keep missing the peak early morning flights. A connecting flight to Hobart will be available from August 31 via Melbourne with a smooth connection. An additional afternoon connecting flight to Perth will also provide Guests with an added option to W.A.
Cairns: Brand new connecting flight via Sydney to Perth. Swap the mangoes for Margaret River.
Canberra: A new connecting flight to Hobart from August 31 via Melbourne providing affordable access between the Aussie and Tassie capitals.
Gold Coast: Convenient new connections between the Gold Coast and Perth as well as a connection to Melbourne via Sydney to complement the direct Gold Coast-Melbourne service. Head south for shopping or west for a winery weekend.
Hobart: The introduction of the brand new direct Hobart-Melbourne service scheduled for August 31 along with easy connections to Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney.
Launceston: A new and easy 55 minute connecting flight to Sydney via Melbourne leaving at 1.05pm and arriving in Sydney at 4.25pm.
Melbourne: 5 new daily flights out of Melbourne including 3 additional services a day to Sydney taking it to 17 Melbourne-Sydney flights a day to cater for Virgin Blue’s ever growing business travellers who demand more choice and flexibility on this key corporate route. A new early morning departure to Adelaide as well as the brand new non-stop flight to Hobart. An additional new slick connection from the Gold Coast will also be on offer.
Sydney: Sydney-siders are in for a flight option bonanza with an extra 4 direct services a day including 3 to Melbourne, one in the morning, one mid-afternoon and one in the evening to cater for increasing demand on Australia’s busiest route. An additional flight to Perth will also depart early evening following the huge popularity of the recently introduced Sydney-Perth service. New connections available from Sydney to Hobart via Melbourne with a brief stopover. Sydney Guests can also split to the Big Banana soon with flights to Coffs Harbour from July 31.
Perth: An additional daily Sydney return departing Perth in the evening and arriving in Sydney early morning to complement the daily flight introduced two weeks ago. The doubling in frequency so early reflects the extraordinary response Virgin Blue has had to the Perth-Sydney launch service with average load factors exceeding 80%. New connecting services via Sydney to Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast and tropical Cairns.
Virgin Blue will operate brand new Boeing 737 aircraft on the routes, with leather seats throughout and an enhanced food and beverage menu, particularly for longer haul flights.
We greatly appreciate the enthusiastic support we’ve had from the travelling public and can assure our loyal Guests that we will continue to respond to their travel needs, whether it be for business or pleasure or both. As more terminal space becomes available, Virgin Blue intends to add more flights around the country and eventually overseas and will be looking to the destinations where there is the most demand”, finished Brett Godfrey.
Virgin Blue is Australia’s multi-award winning low fare airline servicing every state and territory in the country with its fleet of brand new Next Generation 737 aircraft.
1st July 2002
GOLD COAST BECOMES VIRGIN BLUE’S
FASTEST GROWING PORT
NEW GOLD COAST-ADELAIDE ROUTE STARTS TODAY
Low fares have landed on the Gold-Coast-Adelaide route with Virgin Blue today beginning non-stop flights between the two cities, with fares starting from $149* one way and with a Fully Flexible walk-up fare of $319 one way, half of the $646 walk-up fare that the competition has been demanding from the travelling public until now.
The new service is the latest on offer out of the convenient airport, and follows increasing demand for more low fare options to and from one of Australia’s premier tourist spots.
Virgin Blue will offer a daily direct service, with the launch flight arriving at Gold Coast International airport at 12.10pm today.
Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said, The Gold Coast is really proving to be a key port for Virgin Blue and with the recent move into bigger facilities, we have the opportunity to continue growing the number of existing services and destination options. On January 1 we had 3 flights a day in and out of the Gold Coast and today we’ve got double that with 6 services.
The popularity of Virgin Blue’s newly introduced recent day return to Sydney departing at 7.00am and returning at 8.45pm has proven popular with the local business community, demonstrating that the Gold Coast is a vital centre for business traffic.
Adelaide joins the growing list of destinations Virgin Blue flies to from the Gold Coast, including non-stop services from the tourist mecca to Sydney and Melbourne and easy and convenient connecting flights to Perth and Launceston.
The flights are also expected to boost tourism in both directions with Gold Coast travellers able to afford a weekend getaway discovering the delights of South Australia, while Adelaide locals can head north to swap the winter chill for some surf and sunshine.
The route will appeal to leisure travellers and those wanting to visit family and friends but it will also prove an affordable option for business Guests looking to reduce their travel budget even more.
It’s a big day for the low fare airline with the Adelaide-Coolangatta launch coinciding with the start of Virgin Blue’s new direct Sydney-Cairns service.
Brett Godfrey continued, Two launch flights in one day is a pretty good indication of our accelerated growth plan kicking in. It’s an exciting phase for Virgin Blue as we get more aircraft, more people and bring more low fares to more destinations across the country and hopefully overseas by the end of the year.
* Fares include all taxes including the Ansett passenger ticket levy and are for flights booked on the Internet. $10 more by phone.
1st July 2002
NON STOP SYDNEY - CAIRNS FLIGHTS TAKE OFF
NO MORE BARRIERS TO THE REEF WITH VIRGIN BLUE SERVICE
Virgin Blue has added yet another route to its rapidly expanding network with non-stop low fare flights between Sydney and Cairns touching down today.
The inaugural flight will arrive in Cairns at 1pm this afternoon to a warm welcome by staff from Cairns Port Authority, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Quicksilver Connections.
Following strong demand on current connecting flights between the two cities Virgin Blue has launched the new direct service with fares starting from $219* one way and a Fully Flexible walk-up fare of $499* one way, nearly a third less than the $699 walk-up fare the competition has been demanding from the travelling public until now.
Virgin Blue Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said, Travellers have jumped on our low fare services to North Queensland and our move to provide an efficient and cost effective link between Sydney and Cairns was a natural progression for Virgin Blue.
With strong forward bookings in both directions, Virgin Blue is expecting high demand on this direct route as visitors taking advantage of Virgin Blue’s high quality service, low fare travel option.
Even people who have not planned their holidays in advance can still take advantage of Virgin Blue’s everyday low fares.
Brett Godfrey continued, As long as flights keep filling we will continue to add even more services to and from Sydney and greater frequency to key tourism and business routes in the future.
Flights to Cairns will depart Sydney daily at 9.50am giving southerners the perfect opportunity to work on a winter tan in the sun-kissed tropics.
As the gateway to the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, Cairns offers a relaxed, cosmopolitan lifestyle for Sydney-siders wanting to experience the wonders of Far North Queensland.
Guests travelling to and from Cairns will also enjoy more comfortable and modern airport facilities following Virgin Blue’s recent move into the Cairns Domestic Terminal in May.
It’s a big day for the low fare airline with the Sydney - Cairns launch coinciding with the start of Virgin Blue’s new direct Adelaide - Gold Coast service and following hot on the heels of the new non-stop Sydney - Perth flights.
Virgin Blue currently serves approximately 20% of the domestic market and is keen to continue expanding to make sure it keeps the competition honest and the fares low on as many routes as possible.
Virgin Blue’s aircraft delivery program is on schedule, with the airline set to be flying 23 Boeing Next Generation 737 aircraft around Australian and possibly international skies by the end of this year.
* Fares include all taxes including the Ansett passenger ticket levy and are for flights booked on the Internet. $10 more by phone.