Tuesday 2 December 2008

New Direct Flights Non-Stop Between Brisbane and the Solomon Islands Take Off

Virgin Blue’s sister airline, Pacific Blue, will take off from Brisbane International Airport at 10.10am this morning on its inaugural flight to the Solomon Islands, the third new island destination the airline has launched in just four weeks.

Pacific Blue will fly direct between Brisbane and Honiara twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday) using a modern fleet of Boeing 737-800 jet aircraft.
One way non-stop fares from Brisbane start from Aud$369*. Connecting fares start from Aud$649* from Perth, Aud$489* from Sydney, Aud$519* from Adelaide, Aud$489* from Canberra, and $519* from Melbourne.

Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said Pacific Blue’s strong brand awareness would bring many benefits to the market including raising the profile of the Solomon Islands in Australia.

“By bringing Pacific Blue’s tried and tested business model to the Solomon Island market and offering more flight options and, of course, our famous low fares to boost competition on the route we know from past experience these services will help to stimulate tourism and increase visitor arrivals to this glorious destination.

“Business travellers who form a big part of this market will also be able to take advantage of our leading on-time performance and integrated network with Australian domestic and trans-Tasman services offering convenient and seamless transfer options,” he said.

Brett Godfrey continued, “Our entry into the market would not have been possible without the assistance and support of the Prime Minister the Hon. Dr Derek Sikua and his government and ministers for encouraging our investment in the Solomon Island economy. Thank you also to the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau, Solomon Airlines and of course the people of the Solomon Islands, we look forward to working together to achieve the strategic and commercial imperatives for all stakeholders.”

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua, said, “My Government and the people welcome the new air services provided by Pacific Blue. The permission to allow the new airline to operate two flights a week between Brisbane and Honiara is in line with the Government’s open air policy and its desire to increase the country’s tourist arrivals from Australia”.

Consisting of nearly 1000 islands, the Solomon Islands is one of the few remaining unspoilt nations offering a plethora of historical, leisure and adventure opportunities from diving amongst the World War II wreckage, and world heritage listed reef to rare arts and crafts and eco-tourism options.

Guests on the inaugural flight from Australia will enjoy a special farewell from Brisbane International Airport with a cake, balloons and ribbon cutting and they will also get a taste of what awaits them in the Solomon Islands when they receive a farewell flower lei as they board the aircraft.

Dignitaries from the Solomon Island Government and Tourism Bureau will greet the arriving flight into Honiara at 2.10pm today with a special welcome function at the airport to mark this historical occasion.

About Virgin Blue Group

Multi award winning airline Virgin Blue and international carriers Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue currently operate a fleet of 72 modern Boeing 737 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to 26 Australian and nine international nations including New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Bali and the Solomon Islands. Virgin Blue was the first airline in the world to launch a Government-certified carbon offset program, where Guests can offset the carbon emissions from their flights. Virgin Blue Group has also announced plans to launch Australia's newest international airline, V Australia, set to commence flights between Australia and the USA from 2009, subject to regulatory approvals.

* Subject to regulatory approval. All fares are subject to availability, are for one way travel and include taxes, fares and surcharges. Seats are limited and may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one way on the net or $15 more by phone. A credit card surcharge of $5 per person per one way flight is applicable for flights internationally. Fares are correct as at 2 Dec, 2008 and are subject to change. International return fare may vary with the addition of local taxes and charges.

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