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IFF
8th Mar 2010, 03:11
VIRGIN Blue will commence flights from Sydney to Uluru from August, the Brisbane-based airline said today.

Virgin Blue will operate a daily service to the central Australian tourist destination using an Embraer E-190 jet aircraft, which can carry up to 104 passengers.

The airline said the two-class service, to begin on August 2, would provide "some much needed competition on the route".

Currently, only Qantas Airways Ltd flies to Uluru, in the Northern Territory, from Sydney. Its subsidiary QantasLink has services from Alice Springs, Cairns and Perth.

Outgoing Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey said the airline explored a number of options before deciding on Uluru as the ideal destination for a new route.

"We are excited to be expanding our route network to include Ayers Rock," Mr Godfrey said in a statement.

"We expect to find the only airline currently operating on the route will see fit to suddenly offer more reasonable fares."

The company was due to take delivery of a new Embraer jet later in 2010.

GPT Group anticipated the new service would be good for its Ayers Rock Resort.

"An additional airline carrier to the resort will assist in stimulating growth in demand for the region, enabling even more travellers to visit and improving occupancy," GPT chief executive Michael Cameron said in a statement.

Mr Cameron said the Ayers Rock Resort, which was the final asset to be sold from GPT's former hotel and tourism portfolio, remained a non-core asset.

"Ayers Rock Resort remains a good performing quality asset that GPT will continue to hold until dilution from its sale is minimised," Mr Cameron said.

Ayers Rock will be Virgin Blue's 30th domestic destination.

Special introductory fares start from $149 one-way, with normal fares $199 one-way.

Ayers Rock Airport would upgrade existing check-in counters and build additional baggage belts ahead of the first flight, Virgin Blue said.

VBPCGUY
8th Mar 2010, 04:15
BRILLIANT:ok:

Boomerang_Butt
8th Mar 2010, 05:31
Hmm funny, Qantas already had 2 sales on AYQ flights this year, last week they had fares for $149. Wouldn't be making too much fuss about the fact Virgin fly there until they compete on Ayers Rock out of somewhere other than Sydney...

Aim Point
8th Mar 2010, 07:40
Wondered why QF had recently added a JQ codeshare flight number to AYQ services.:hmm:

ditzyboy
8th Mar 2010, 10:23
Wondered why QF had recently added a JQ codeshare flight number to AYQ services.

The JQ code has been on the flight for a while now, for international inbound customers only. Like all domestic QF services with a JQ code, you will not see solely domestic passengers booked under the codeshare, contrary to popular belief.

Continue Approach
8th Mar 2010, 18:47
Ayers Rock Resort (Yulara) is currently running on 25% occupancy in the current "off" season. Their launch date of Aug '10 is the start of the next off season, and I don't see things improving. I think that VB have left their run a little late on this sector. They should have taken the bait whilst they still had an interest in Alice Springs 5 years ago.