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Australian performer James Blundell appointed as the Face of RegionalLink

Travel News Asia 2 April 2004

Renowned Australian singer-songwriter James Blundell was named today as the face and voice of the newly-formed RegionalLink Airlines, a national coalition of regional carriers which has formed Australia's first airline franchise.

The multi award-winning performer, who has a strong affinity with regional Australia, will be the roving ambassador for RegionalLink, which will unite independently-owned regional carriers throughout the country under a single brand with shared core functions such as reservations, purchasing, yield management, airport services and information technology.

As well as appearing in print and electronic promotions for RegionalLink throughout Australia, Mr Blundell will be the voice of the group in announcements ranging from on-hold phone messages to in-flight safety briefing tapes. Many of his performances in regional Australia also will be supported by the new airline group.

Airnorth, Airlines of South Australia and Adelaide-based Emu Airways - all owned by Darwin aviation company Capiteq Ltd - are the founding members of RegionalLink, which will provide a national brand and centralised procurement system for group members.

Mr Blundell's appointment as RegionalLink Ambassador was announced in Darwin, where an Embraer Brasilia aircraft was unveiled in the new blue and silver RegionalLink colour scheme.

"I grew up on a sheep and cattle station in Queensland, and have always been passionate about regional Australia and its people," said Mr Blundell. "The bush is really the heart and soul of this country, and it is the RegionalLink commitment to sustainable flights to regional centres that has convinced me to endorse this concept."

The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, the Hon Claire Martin MP, who joined Mr Blundell at today's launch ceremony, said the vast distances and sparse population of Australia made the regional airline industry critical to the national interest.

"Healthy regional airlines are crucial to the well-being of remote communities, particularly here in the Northern Territory," said Ms Martin. "The RegionalLink concept is to be applauded for its aim of providing sustainable and affordable services through a strategy of shared resources and lower costs for participating airlines." 

The Chief Executive of RegionalLink, Mr Ian Mitchell, said several other independently-owned regional airlines throughout Australia have also commenced discussions with a view to joining the airline coalition this year.

"Regional airlines in Australia are facing significant cost challenges, and our aim is to ensure sustainable service to as many regional markets as possible," said Mr Mitchell.

"James Blundell is a performer with a passion for regional Australia, and its people, and we are delighted that he has agreed to become the voice and the face of RegionalLink Airlines. His commitment to the bush is perfect for the message we are driving home - that regional Australia is important to all of us."

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