Virgin Blue has today reaffirmed its commitment to a low fare strategy ensuring that Australians will continue to benefit from affordable travel regardless of the outcome of the discussions surrounding Ansett.
The airline indicated that it would prefer Australia to retain three airlines and hoped that the authorities would work with all parties including Virgin Blue, to reasonably review the options without the duress of a deadline imposed by New Zealand stock market reporting rules.
In a press conference held in Brisbane today, Brett Godfrey, C.E.O of Virgin Blue confirmed that he had held constructive discussions with both Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and Professor Fels of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on how the Ansett issue can be addressed in a way that is in the best interest of maintaining jobs, regional services and sustainable airline competition.
Brett Godfrey stated that “After the demise Compass 1 and 2, Impulse, Flight West and now possibly Ansett, it is clear that Australia needs to look at the way airline competition is being managed to ensure that we don`t become a monopoly market. It is obvious to us that Australians want competition and low fares to continue.”
Virgin Blue is committed to playing a constructive role in resolving this issue and has a team standing by to depart for Auckland to participate in the discussions.
Brett Godfrey noted “Virgin Blue has submitted an outline proposal to the Australian government that we believe would be good for jobs and allow us to expand regional and other services. If given the chance to conduct due diligence, we believe we might be able to take over one or more of Ansett`s regional operations. To do this, we have to be confident that Qantas won`t be allowed to cherry pick the best people and assets.”
“Even if Virgin Blue and Qantas end up as the only two carriers operating, this does not mean that we will return to the old duopoly. Virgin Blue will stick to its existing fare strategy… we have NO interest in becoming a Qantas clone. You won`t see Virgin Blue matching Qantas`s ridiculously high fares just to get around Australia.”