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Monday, 9 February 2009

V Australia Makes History as it Takes Delivery of the First Australian Boeing 777


Australia's newest international long-haul airline, V Australia, took delivery of the first of seven Boeing 777-300ER aircraft at the Boeing factory in Seattle on Friday.

Virgin Blue co-founder and Virgin Group Chairman, Sir Richard Branson, flew in to witness the historic handover, which represents the first ever 777-300ER aircraft to go to an Australian carrier.

"I am delighted to be here in Seattle to witness the handover of V Australia's first aircraft and look forward to being on the inaugural flight from Sydney to Los Angeles later this month," he said.

Speaking from Seattle, Branson said, "This new airline and indeed, the actual aircraft itself, boasts a range of product features that are second to none, including the two in-flight 'V Bars.'

“I am confident that like all Virgin airlines worldwide, V Australia, its people, its product, its prices and in particular, its personality, will prove to be a great stimulus for travel and tourism when the airline takes off.”

Virgin Group CEO Brett Godfrey, ILFC Chairman and CEO Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, V Australia Executive General Manager, Scott Swift and senior Boeing officials were also present during the delivery.

A number of Australian-born celebrities including Julian McMahon, Jason Clarke, Holly Valance and Kimberley Joseph brought a touch of ‘Hollywood glamour’ to the event when they joined in the celebrations with the V Australia team.

Mr Godfrey, said, "The delivery of this aircraft has been a much anticipated moment for the entire V Australia team as it represents a step towards our goal to launch a brand new contemporary international airline for Australia."

The 360-seat aircraft has been christened "Didgeree Blue" with the blessing of the Yolgnu people from the Northern Territory.

The aircraft, offers Business, Premium International and International Economy classes and it includes in-flight bars, state-of-the-art entertainment and mood lighting.

According to Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president, Asia Pacific Sales, Boeing has been eager to see an Australian airline test the 777’s capabilities in the South Pacific region.

"It is a great day to see this 777-300ER take on the job it was designed for," he said. "V Australia will be first with 777 service on the Sydney-Los Angeles route -- exactly why we built this airplane. We congratulate V Australia for its visionary role."

John Wojick, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president, Leasing Sales, added, "ILFC is the world's largest 777 customer and, through its leadership and vision, has partnered with Boeing to expand the worldwide market for the 777, including this first 777 in Australia."

As V Australia celebrated the delivery of its first sparkling new B777-300ER aircraft, it also took the opportunity to announce the introduction of non-stop flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles.

Effective from 15 September 2009, the airline will launch three flights a week between Melbourne and Los Angeles ^.

Virgin Blue Group CEO and Co-Founder, Brett Godfrey, said: “We just couldn’t wait to get home to let everyone who finds Melbourne a more convenient trans-Pacific departure point know that we will be bringing some healthy competition to a route on which only one other airline currently operates non-stop direct services to Los Angeles.”

“We know this is something people have been crying out for on both sides of the Pacific. Even in these tough economic times passenger traffic through Melbourne has been continuing to grow, so stimulating the destination further with more convenient, value-for-money, freshly innovative and high quality air services can only be a good thing for all.”

To kick off its MEL-LAX service, V Australia has announced an introductory return Economy class sale fare of $1,199*, which is available for sale from now until Midnight Tuesday, 10 February, or until sold out for travel between 15 September 2009 through to 9 December 2009.

For more information please visit www.vaustralia.com.au or via www.virginblue.com.au, call 138 287 or contact your local travel agent.

^ Subject to regulatory approval.

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