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Virgin Blue to launch direct weekend Syndey-Whitsunday service

Travel News Asia 11 February 2003

Virgin Blue has confirmed it will bring its low fares direct to the Whitsundays with a weekend flight between Sydney and Whitsunday Coast Airport (Proserpine) from Saturday April 12.

It follows intense campaigning by the Whitsunday Shire Council on behalf of local businesses for Virgin Blue to offer a direct low fare option to their region.

The airline already operates daily flights to and from Mackay and the new Whitsundays flight will provide travellers with a direct option to complement the Mackay service that many Guests are already using as a gateway to the region.

Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey said, "The Whitsundays are clearly one of Australia's most popular tourist destinations but up until now it has also been one of the most expensive for people to fly directly to. We are confident that Virgin Blue's low fares will mean more people will be tempted to  set sail simply because its more affordable."

Virgin Blue's fantastic everyday fares will start from $199 one-way on the net, with the Fully Flexible fare of $385 one-way on the net, 33% lower than the Qantas equivalent fare of $577. 

"The popularity of our Mackay flights demonstrated that people are hugely enthusiastic about the Whitsundays region so we decided to take it one step further and offer a service that allows them to fly in, stay for a week and fly home OR fly direct one way and out of Mackay at their convenience."

Virgin Blue's weekly flight will depart Sydney every Saturday at 9.30am and arrive at Whitsunday Coast Airport at 11.55am allowing time for convenient transfers to the various islands or the afternoon to pick up the charter boat and head off into the sunset. The return flight departs at 12.25pm and arrives back in Sydney at 2.45pm.

Whitsunday Shire Council Mayor Cr. Mario Demartini said, "With the introduction of Virgin Blue services there will be choice for the traveller and affordable airfares. The support of the local industry has made this new service a reality."

Virgin Blue will closely monitor the response to the weekly flight and will consider increasing services according to demand and support.

The new direct Whitsundays flight will also benefit Guests in Melbourne and Adelaide with convenient connections available from both ports to get them to the region in time for an afternoon sail or "sundowner".

* All fares include the passenger ticket levy, airport charges and the global security charge and are for flights booked on the Internet. $10 more by phone.

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