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Virgin Blue's new 'Blue Room' opens at Melbourne Airport

Travel News Asia 4 December 2003

Virgin Blue today made a further push for corporate market share with the opening of its new Melbourne airport 'Blue Room'.

The new lounge follows the launch of 'Blue Rooms' in Brisbane and Sydney, continuing the low fare airline's rollout of innovative, business friendly lounges across Australia.

The brand new 'Blue Room' includes Australia's first airport 5-hole practice putting green, aptly titled 'The Blue Green'.

The innovative lounges reflect what Australian corporate travellers want in the new era of affordable corporate travel options, with a range of convenient facilities now available for a fraction of the cost of traditional airport lounge memberships.

Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, "In this day and age, business travel is about consumer choice, frequency, affordability and on time performance.

"Virgin Blue believes in offering all of these while maintaining our position as the industry's low cost leader.

"Since our 'Blue Rooms' operate on a user-pays basis, we can offer these enhanced services without raising our airfares by even a cent."

Brett Godfrey continued, "Our competitors believe that only leisure travellers want good value, but we know that everyone wants value for their travel dollar, especially the corporate sector where our market growth continues." 

"The 'Blue Room' concept is about making sure our busy Guests have the support and facilities they need to log in, have a meeting or go about their business. If they want to practice their putting skills or get a massage, it's not going to affect the airfare of fellow travellers," he finished.

In a first for airport lounges in Australia, the Melbourne 'Blue Room' also offers an appealing range of 'user pays' services including a 'workout' room with the latest computerised gym facilities, day spa health and beauty services, a spray tanning salon and hairdressing services for the convenience of busy Guests.

Complimentary 'Blue Room' services available in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney:

State of the art surround sound Sony Wega Theatrette with movies on the big screen;

Workstations where travellers can 'plug in';

Internet kiosks;

Comfy armchairs to relax in while watching the large plasma or digital televisions;

A 'play-zone' incorporating Sony PlayStation consoles for big kids looking to de-stress after a long day;

A full sized pool table with 180 degree views of the tarmac (Melbourne only);

A quality selection of newspapers and magazines;

Shower facilities;

Express check-in for those with hand luggage only;

Courtesy fax and photocopier;

Free SMS messaging courtesy of Nokia and Virgin Mobile.

For a reasonable fee, the 'Blue Room' also offers:

A caf serving delicious meals and gourmet coffees;

A private bar offering bubbles, beer, bourbon and other alcoholic beverages; and

Conference room facilities (Brisbane and Melbourne only).

Anyone can access the 'Blue Room' facilities by paying an introductory pay-as-you-go A$5 entry fee or by snapping up an annual 'Blue Room Passport' for A$195.

Guests can also choose to buy exclusive 'Blue Room' Voucher Booklets containing 50 prepaid A$5 coupons that can be redeemed for entry and/or massage and beauty services, food or refreshments in any 'Blue Room'.

The vouchers can be used by both members and non-members of the 'Blue Room' and are designed to give companies the freedom to supply cash equivalent coupons to travelling team members so they can take advantage of the convenience of the lounge when they please, without having to worry about blowing the budget or having the hassle of filling out detailed expense forms.

With 'Blue Rooms' now established in airports at Australia's major business hubs, Virgin Blue said it will also investigate the possibility of opening further lounges at other airports around the country in the New Year.

In addition to today's 'Blue Room' launch, within the last week Virgin Blue has also announced a number of new services to offer more frequency and flexibility on key business and leisure routes.

These schedule additions and increases include:

A 40% increase in year round direct services to the Gold Coast. This includes a new non-stop Perth - Gold Coast service commencing from 29 March 2004.

A 50% increase in frequency between Cairns and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

A new daily service between Sydney and Townsville and an extra daily return service between Brisbane and Townsville.

A new daily jet service between Newcastle and Brisbane, allowing for convenient connections between Newcastle and Mackay, Cairns and Townsville.

Three new direct services per week between Melbourne and Darwin to complement existing services between the Northern Territory Capital and Sydney and Brisbane.

Virgin Blue currently operates a fleet of 40 brand new Boeing 737 aircraft with an average age of less than two years. The award winning carrier currently flies to 20 destinations nationally and has recently launched 'Pacific Blue', its New Zealand-based sister airline that is due to begin services between Christchurch and Brisbane on 29 January 2004.

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