Virgin Blue to launch on 31 August.
Virgin Blue, the latest domestic airline to start up in Australia, will operate its inaugural flight between Brisbane and Sydney on 31 August.
The carrier announced on 25 August that it had finally received its air operator's certificate from Australian aviation authorities and launched a sale over the weekend of AUD48 for tickets between Brisbane and Sydney. The sale saw some 10,000 tickets sold and a spokesperson for the carrier stated that the take up of the offer was 'beyond our wildest expectations.' Such was the demand that Virgin Blue's web site crashed on 26 August, while those making phone bookings were made to wait up to 20 minutes according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
In related news, another new carrier, Impulse Airlines, began services on the Sydney-Brisbane route today (28 August). Impulse Airlines has extended its 'web hot' airfare sale for tickets until 8 October and is offering tickets between Sydney and Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne from AUD66.
Australia now has four carriers operating on domestic routes in the eastern states, including flights offered by established carriers Ansett and Qantas.
There are some concerns that travellers in regional Australia will miss out on good travel deals however, with the carriers initially focusing on the more lucrative Brisbane-Melbourne-Sydney routes.
The entrance of the two new carriers is welcomed though, with a spokesperson
for the Tourism Task Force stating that the low airfares on offer were giving many Australians the chance to fly for the first time as well as increasing business on the east coast.
It was also pointed out however that if the carriers wanted the tourism industry to 'get all excited' about the increased services then they will have to fly 'to places where people want to go. Like Ayers Rock (Uluru), Cairns, Coolangatta, Tasmania and Western Australia' according to the Australian Associated Press.
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