Virgin Blue Airlines will begin flights between Brisbane and Sydney this coming Thursday (31 August) after successfully completing the final proving flight as required by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
The Proving Flight involved CASA officials observing all aspects of Virgin Blue`s ground and air operating procedures.
The flight, which was the final step in the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) approval process, was given the thumbs up by CASA officials this evening.
While the issuance of the AOC will not occur for a few days, the airline has been given approval to sell seats.
Based on this and the fact that Virgin Blue will begin operating within the week, Virgin Blue has announced a special one-time launch fare offer of $48 for 48 hours on every single seat between launch and the 30th of September.
From 7.00am Saturday August 26 to 7.00am Monday August 28, ALL seats between Brisbane and Sydney will be on offer for the “wow” price of $48 one way (including gst) until sold out.
A major priority for Virgin Blue is to make its specials accessible, which is why the offer extends to all seats from August 31 to September 30, and not just a select few. Uniquely, these fares are available through all distribution channels, including the internet, Virgin Blue reservations and travel agents.
Virgin Blue Chief Executive Officer, Brett Godfrey, says “Virgin Blue wants to make a genuine low fare launch offer that is available to everyone, not just the fortunate internet-savvy few and not just a few seats at an inconvenient time. Even people who want to go to the Olympics or get away from the Olympics will be able to take advantage of this special launch offer.”
Passengers will also be able to change their flight dates and times for a reasonable service charge, providing Virgin Blue guests with the choice and the right to alter their travel plans no matter what the reason or what they paid for their ticket.
“Low fares currently equal inflexibility, where you must fly at `off-peak` times and don`t even think about asking the airline to be sympathetic towards your need to change your schedule? because today they aren`t. At Virgin Blue we recognise and respect the right of guests to change their plans. Passenger travel needs can change at any time and our customer service philosophy is built on choice “, he said.
For people travelling after September, Virgin Blue will offer its usual low fares, honouring Richard Branson`s November promise to provide the Australian public with at least half the seats on a Brisbane-Sydney flight for under $100.
Brett Godfrey says, “Even our highest fares will be about half the economy walk-up fare that people are currently forced to pay on other airlines. At the same time, Virgin Blue will constantly reassess the market place and will do whatever it takes to remain competitive.”
Virgin Blue`s inaugural commercial flight will depart from the airline`s home base, Brisbane, at 9.35am on August 31, marking the carrier`s historic entrance into the Australian aviation industry, and providing travellers with a dynamic new airline option.
“Starting an airline from scratch is not an everyday occurrence and the Virgin Blue team has thrown its heart and soul into offering Australians an innovative, genuine low fare alternative to existing carriers.”
He continued, “Virgin BLue will be up and flying ahead of its original pre-Olympic target date and we look forward to offering sustainable long term low fares for many years to come. Let the games begin.”