View Full Version : Virgin Blue Looks Set to Fly Into Whitsundays

7th Jan 2003, 12:19
Tuesday January 7, 6:22 PM

Virgin Blue Looks Set to Fly Into Australia's Whitsundays

BRISBANE, Jan 7 Asia Pulse - Virgin Blue looks set to challenge Qantas' domination of the Whitsunday region's tourism pie.
The budget airline is negotiating with the Whitsunday Shire Council to fly into Proserpine Airport but Virgin Blue spokeswoman Amanda Bolger said the deal had not yet been sealed.

"From our end we are still saying it's something we're looking at and discussions are ongoing but there's no imminent announcement," she said.

Proserpine Airport is the mainland gateway to the Whitsundays which is Australia's third most popular domestic holiday destination.

Since Ansett's demise Qantas has dominated airline services to both Proserpine and Hamilton Island in north Queensland.

It is believed if Virgin Blue's negotiations are successful the first service would be Sydney to Proserpine and then later include Brisbane departures.

Whitsunday Shire Council mayor Mario Demartini said he was "very hopeful" of a deal.

"Everything looks very positive and we would hope to reach a decision within the next two weeks," he said.

Virgin Blue's entry into Proserpine was expected to spark an airfare war with Qantas.

Mr Demartini said it was not unusual for Proserpine residents to drive 120km to Mackay to fly with either Qantas or Virgin Blue because airfares were significantly cheaper.

"The biggest problem is that we don't have appropriately-priced flights into Proserpine," he said.

"The prices to return Brisbane are around A$150 (US$86.18) cheaper at Mackay than at Proserpine.

"While I'm very happy with Qantas' services into the area what I'm not happy about is the inflated prices into Proserpine," Mr Demartini said.