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Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Virgin Blue Gets Down To Business In West Australia


Virgin Blue Group has today announced a key investment in the WA market with a corporate lounge facility “The Lounge” to be opened at Perth Airport in April next year.

The announcement was made by Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, along with the Virgin Blue Executive Management Team, during a Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia presentation in Perth this morning.

It is the first time the entire Management team has embarked on a three day visit to WA to engage in business meetings, ministerial visits and host a cocktail party for industry partners reflecting the importance of the WA market to the airline’s growth plans.

The decision to open a Virgin Blue “The Lounge” facility in Perth is the result of consultation with WA based corporate accounts and business travellers and is part of the airline’s plan to ramp up its presence in Perth and the West Australian regional market.

Brett Godfrey said, “This is a significant commitment from Virgin Blue and we see it as an important step in providing further benefits to the increasing number of business and corporate travellers who fly with us, not just to the east coast, but also on our newly launched intra-WA routes.”

The Lounge will provide Members and Guests with an all-inclusive food and beverage corporate lounge at Perth Airport offering complimentary WiFi access, workstations, private meeting room as well as a relaxing entertainment area so that travellers can go about their work or play. It will be the sixth “The Lounge” for Virgin Blue and will offer similar facilities as the Lounges in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

He continued, “Virgin Blue now has 38 flights a day to and from Perth. We have been working closely with the team at Perth Airport to facilitate the development of our new Lounge and while we expect to outgrow the facility within two years, it is an important new product offering for our Guests right now which will be open for business in April next year”.

Access will be via annual membership, or is complimentary for Velocity Gold Members and Guests travelling on Premium Economy or Corporate Plus fares. Guests will also be able to access the lounge on a casual basis through the purchase of a single visit pass on-line for $30 per person. Selected SkyWest customers will also be eligible to use the Lounge in Perth.

The Lounge announcement follows hot on the heels of Virgin Blue’s recent 56% increase in capacity within the Perth market. The airline recently launched brand new services between Perth and Karratha and Perth and Newman, as well as increased services between Perth and Broome. For the first time, the international airline of Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue, also launched direct flights between Perth and Bali, marking the first international service offered by the Virgin Blue Group from West Australia. The airline has also introduced a 37% increase in capacity for its flights between Perth and the east coast since May this year.

“Make no mistake, we are very serious about serving the needs of WA’s leisure and business travellers and our visit here this week is also an opportunity to gain feedback from the local community and industry stakeholders as to what they would like to see from Virgin Blue in 2009 and beyond.” Brett Godfrey added.

The airline has recently upgraded its Premium Economy product to include complimentary food and beverage in flight as well as complimentary live2air in-flight entertainment^, which is proving especially popular on the longer Perth to east coast flights.

“We are very encouraged by the support we have received from the West Australian business and general community and are eager to further enhance the travel experience for all Guests, while at the same time maintaining affordability, innovation and the unmistakable Virgin flair and friendliness”, Brett Godfrey finished.

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 12 international destinations including New Zealand, Bali, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, PNG, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands. 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 February 2009.

^ Live2air is available on the majority of Virgin Blue's Boeing 737 aircraft. Live2air is not available on Virgin Blue's EMBRAER E170 or E190 aircraft. The pay-per-view movie component of live2air will only be available on selected routes over 2.5 hours duration. For full information on Premium Economy please visit www.virginblue.com.au.

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