View Full Version : Red Jets to the Red Centre!

20th Mar 2003, 05:34
19th March 2003
Virgin Blue today announced flights between Sydney and Alice Springs offering competition to another key regional centre.
The daily service will begin from June 5 offering value for money air travel to one of Australia’s key tourist destinations. It follows strong lobbying by the people of Alice Springs, NT Airports and the NT Government through the Northern Territory Tourism Commission, to ensure that the people of Alice Springs get the benefits of the low airfare competition that is now being enjoyed by much of the rest of the country.

Virgin Blue expects to add approximately 1000 low-fare seats per week to this key tourism destination.

Alice Springs is the third new leisure destination to be announced in the past two months joining the Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) and Broome as the newest routes in Virgin Blue’s low fare network.

To celebrate the announcement, Virgin Blue is offering a “red hot launch fare” of $149* one-way on the net. This fare will be available for sale until the end of March and will be offered for at least 50 seats on every flight to and from Alice Springs during the first two weeks of services from 5 June to 18 June.

Virgin Blue’s everyday fares will start from $199* one-way on the net, with the Fully Flexible fare of $460* one-way on the net, 33% lower than the Qantas equivalent fare of $684.

The airline has put in place convenient midday schedules, with convenient connections to and from Adelaide, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne.

Head of Commercial David Huttner, in Darwin today, said “The people and tourism industry of the Red Centre have committed to backing the airline that’s going to bring them low fares. With such a strong public undertaking, we felt obliged to give them a go. Clearly, if that commitment is realised, we will be looking to add more services to and from Alice Springs in the future. The groups that have lobbied us have made it clear that they understand that if you want competition, you have to back competition.”

He continued “The Red Centre has learned the true cost of being beholden to a monopoly player, and as long as they remember how much air fares cost up until this day, we believe they will realise there is only one airline who holds low fares and great service as core to their beliefs.”

Virgin Blue is expecting the usual drop in price from the high fare airline currently servicing the Sydney-Alice Springs route but it will continue to lobby for its fair share of traffic from major tour operators, local business and government who want to ensure the service is sustainable.

Alice will be the second NT destination Virgin Blue will be flying to after Darwin services began in December 2001.

With new rail services between Darwin and Alice Springs opening soon, as well as the current global events beyond Australia’s shores, the airline sees domestic tourism as a key growth market in the region.

The regional centre serves as the gateway to attractions such as Kings Canyon and Uluru and offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in ancient dreamtime lore.

Todays news is positive for both tourists travelling to Alice Springs from the East Coast as well as for Alice Springs locals who will be able to take advantage of the great fares to do business or visit friends and family in all major East Coast centres.

* All fares include the passenger ticket levy, airport charges and the global security charge and are for flights booked on the Internet. $10 more by phone. At least 50 seats on every flight between 5 and 18 June inclusive will be available at these fares if purchased before the completion of this special offer at 2359 (AEST) on March 31, 2003.

DJ583 9:25am 12:20pm Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

DJ584 12:50pm 4:15pm Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

20th Mar 2003, 08:00

Now if they really wanted to make a "killing", after landing in Alice they'd then get the a/c to fly from AS to AYE, return to AS, then back to SY, ML, or BNE on the same day...... Then they'd make some $$ and be able to o'night the crews easily on 2-3 day turnarounds depending on the frq of the flights.

MIss Behaviour
20th Mar 2003, 09:12
Okay, to give you a comparison between QF & DJ for someone living in ADL going to ASP for the June long weekend

Sat 07 Jun ADL/ASP QF723 0940/1145 (2.05hrs)
Mon 09 Jun ASP/ADL QF722 1745/1940 (1.55hrs)

Total airfare including taxes AUD387.85

Virgin Blue
Sat 07 Jun ADL/SYD DJ401 0635/0855
Sat 07 Jun SYD/ASP DJ583 0925/1220 (5.45hrs)
Mon 09 Jun ASP/SYD DJ584 1250/1615
Mon 09 Jun SYD/ADL DJ428 1745/1925 (6.35hrs)

Total airfare including taxes AUD440.00

The QF fare was in place long before DJ announced plans to fly SYD/ASP but watch the cynics bag Skippy anyway. A lot of people expect to get rock bottom fares when they leave it to the last minute to organise their trip. Sometimes you can be lucky but sometimes you can't.

Let's wait and see if all the DJ supporters in ASP that have been so vocal actually put their money where their mouth is and fly with them after 05 June. I would say a greater percentage will not.

21st Mar 2003, 09:10
...sometimes, you just have to pay for the better service!

21st Mar 2003, 11:04
MIss Behaviour just a comment on your comparison between QF and DJ fares. I am not sure what fare booking class you used in your comparison but I suspect the more restrictive fare conditions apply to these fares.

I travel quite a lot on both QF and DJ paying for my own (usually heavily discounted) fares. Both QF and DJ offer terrific promotional fares from time to time which I take full advantage of.

From my experience, the biggest difference between QF and DJ is the ability to cancel discounted DJ fares (subject to a $30 cancellation fee) with the balance held in credit and available to be used within 12 months from the date of ticket purchase even for the very cheapest internet fare.

I agree with you that it is often possible to find QF fares below DJ fares on equivalent (or even more direct) flights. However the headline fare alone does not tell the entire story with the devil in the detail.

The deeply discounted QF fares are generally confined to the internet Red e-Deal variety which are sold on a 'use it or lose it' basis. So even where the cheapest internet DJ fare is more than the QF fare I still chose to travel on DJ because of the ticket's greater flexibility - if I find I am unable to travel on a particular flight I only lose $30 of my fare and not the whole lot. I have no trouble using the balance of the ticket price within 12 months.

To me this is a significant difference in the fare structure of the two airlines that is little discussed.

21st Mar 2003, 22:43
also, missbehaviour, you would do better to compare the walk-up asp-syd fare of dj against that of qf, i think you will find dj's is considerably lower, in any case, alice springs is one of the few larger centres in Oz that has been left without competition after the demise of Ansett. I can guarantee that QF's fares out of the centre will now come down to match those of Virgins just like they have in other parts of Australia. Lets not forget the main reason why qantas now offers dirt cheap internet deals is they have had to in the face of stiff competition from virgin.

I think virgin will do really well out of Alice, it has been a long battle by the people of the town to get a second airline once again, now that it is a reality, they will support it well.

21st Mar 2003, 23:47
Hey Miss Behaviour,

Those QF flight times seem pretty good to/from asp, so long as they not the ones getting cancelled on a daily basis.
You certainly do pay for service, whether or not you recieve it is another story.:D

Going Boeing
22nd Mar 2003, 11:30
Most airlines select liveries that have the top of the fuselage painted white so that less heat is transferred into the cabin whilst on the ground - this allows the air-conditioning to be more effective during transits. I've always wondered if the DJ livery causes the interior to be hotter on the ground - I guess that transits at Alice Springs mid-summer will test out the B737NG air conditioning. Could be very unpleasant if the APU is unserviceable.

Input from DJ crews would be appreciated. GB.

22nd Mar 2003, 13:21
Typical QF dribble! What do u think u would be paying if DJ wasn't here? My guess is u Wouldn't be going away for a longweekend unless u were on staff travel as most wouldn't be able to afford to fly!:eek:

22nd Mar 2003, 13:21
....and transits in winter will be nice and toasty warm :D

By the way, the insulation that keeps the -50c temperatures 'out' at altitude also works nicely to insulate the heat on same..

22nd Mar 2003, 13:26
Not sure of other aircraft types but the 737 NG's can run both packs on the ground which provides fairly good aircon as compared to the classic which runs just one pack on the ground.

22nd Mar 2003, 19:04
What we pay here? An average (not a special, just a plain old average) $600 - $700 per return flight to and from Sydney is what I've heard from people who use the QF service regularly.

With the load factors the way they appear to be, there are people paying it too.

Miss B, I feel you overlook the fact that not everyone wants to get in to Alice, some of us want to escape from here every now and again and before now none could regularly afford it on a GA wage, now I might be able to get out and about a little more.... :D

22nd Mar 2003, 22:47
What we pay here? An average (not a special, just a plain old average) $600 - $700 per return flight to and from Sydney is what I've heard from people who use the QF service regularly.

And if you do manage to get a cheaper fare, you have to fly via Woop-Woop and sit in an airport lounge for 6 hrs :mad:

23rd Mar 2003, 01:07
I wonder what the fare would be if QF didnt operate to any of these destinations:eek:

Does anyone know if DJ operates to anyway where QF doesnt?

23rd Mar 2003, 02:11
Adelaide-Broome is a DJ only route. It's the only one I can think of at the moment. If QF keep reducing it, ADL-OOL may also be unique in the near future.

Does QF still fly SYD-PPP?

MIss Behaviour
23rd Mar 2003, 02:44
The comparison was the cheapest fare on offer for both airlines available at the time on their respective websites. I am aware that the Qantas rules are very strict ie use it or lose it and that Virgin you can pay the $30.00 to have the remainder held in a ‘credit shell’ for the 12months. Incidentally it doesn’t have to be you who ends up using the credit as it is transferable to anyone be it your grandma, neighbour or whomever.

I will say that I still got burned (ie forfeited the fare) after paying a ‘fully flexible’ fare with DJ. I only found out the night before I wouldn’t be traveling but as it was after 2100 QLD time, their guest contact centre was already closed so I was unable to amend my booking giving the required 12 hours notice. To compare apples with apples if it had been a full economy fare or one of the other high yield economy fares with Qantas I could have no-showed & still been able to rebook or get a full refund.

I'm sure you're correct in that a walk up fare with DJ would be cheaper than QF. It may well be the case now that if someone has the opportunity to travel at short notice they will pay the $920.00 fare on DJ rather than elect not to travel at all if faced with paying a more expensive full fare on QF.

The demise of AN seriously impacted the availability of seats on flights into/out of AS to the tune of 50% and naturally would limit the amount of cheaper seats by the same figure. It's a case of supply and demand.

While there may be more choice with the number of flights ex DN the fares would be fairly similar to those ex AS. If you're travelling to BN then flying DJ is certainly an option however to SY or ML their fares are considerably higher than QF so the latter will usually be a more viable option.

Until earlier this month I had not been out of the NT for 14 months so there is a tendency to go a little stir crazy & feel the need for some Southern Culture.

One would hope that after 05 June the increased capacity will give the people of AS greater flexibility and choice of fares, schedules and carrier when ''escaping Alice''. ;)

Btw, how did you & your colleagues go with arranging the medical for your ATPL?

23rd Mar 2003, 03:57
Well, the medicals are a story in themselves Miss. Two of us were in a position to be able to fly to TNK very early am, to pick up a couple of pax who wanted to depart later in the day..... things were looking good.... then for the medicals came the $200 EACH price tag (what, telephone numbers!)........ things all of a sudden not so good! Then pax rang the day before charter and asked if could leave TNK by 9am..... Yep, we can do that!

So, still no medicals, we rang RFDS @ AYE, but they weren't going to put 3 of us through in one day, or even consider doing them in AS..... "please, please, pretty please?"........ "OK, but you'll have to drive down here........"

Like a shot, we were there........ :}

And at much less than HALF what (N_C, what's his name?) was wanting for a bare bones class one med.

Now Dr Ross Peterkin ( the Doc who did mine), is doing them is Alice at the moment for at least the next 6 wks....... Oh well, that might have helped a month ago..... ;)

Thanks for your advice back then Miss, that helped a lot! Cheers!

23rd Mar 2003, 05:41
Ok so what is DJ's fare for ADL-BRM seeing how there is no direct QF competition? I would say more than what it would be if QF were operating direct on that route. But if QF decided to compete against DJ on that route, it was be seen as "anti competitive" and the usual kick in the guts it usually gets from the media. But when DJ starts a new route ie SYD-ASP to compete against QF, its seen as the saviour. Someone throw me a fricken bone here.
And who was it that uplifted all the pax for free when AN when tits up. Didn't see DJ giving away too many free seats.

Capn Laptop
23rd Mar 2003, 22:48
Well actually Virgin made a heap of seats available to pax stranded by the Ansett collapse - including jump seats available to stranded crew.

24th Mar 2003, 09:43

Fare Fair $320.00 and Fully Flex $620.00

I will be interesting to see a comparative distance and what the fares relect for both carriers

29th Mar 2003, 07:38

agreed, in fact if the fares are around the same or qf is just a tiny bit more i would take qf for the ff points...

2nd Apr 2003, 18:41
MIss Behaviour,

You wrote

"I will say that I still got burned (i.e. forfeited the fare) after paying a ‘fully flexible’ fare with DJ. I only found out the night before I wouldn’t be traveling but as it was after 2100 QLD time, their guest contact centre was already closed so I was unable to amend my booking giving the required 12 hours notice. "

I am not sure when you forfeited your 'fully flexible' DJ fare but it must have been some time ago as the Virgin guest contact centre (13 6789) operates 24 hours a day. Also, only 30 minutes notice before departure time is required to change any 'fully flexible' DJ fare (with 24 hours notice before departure time required under the discounted 'fair fare' rules).


You might decide to take QF in preference to DJ if the fares are about the same (or even if QF is a little bit more) because of the FF points. This is fine provided you are absolutely certain that you will be able to make those flights.

With DJ even with the very cheapest ticket you can cancel the booking up to 24 hours before departure and effectively pay only a $30 cancellation fee, with the rest of the ticket price available for future travel.

With QF discounted tickets, if you are unable to travel on the booked flights the whole ticket price is lost making it a very expensive way to earn FF points.

Northern Chique
2nd Apr 2003, 23:12
hey Ops.... Dr T wanted a couple of nice lads tp talk to instead of all the riff raff he normally gets from TFC :p

Will wander down to Alice me thinks though...

Alpha Charlie Bravo
3rd Apr 2003, 08:50
Miss Behaviour

Well, well haven't you copped a shellaquing after putting your two cents worth in. Forgotten the golden rule in this otherwise great country. Don't champion the winning team, oops, I meant price gouging dominant player. Yeah right!

DJ aren't the kicked from pillar to post sideline operator they make themselves out be, however they are a low cost operator, granted!

Low cost to whom though, the flying public or themselves!:yuk:

3rd Apr 2003, 09:56
She's entitled to her opinion, just like everybody else. I wouldn't say she got a shellacking, just some vigorous debate and alternate opinion. That's what keeps most coming back.... time after time after time..... ;)

bush mechanics
23rd Apr 2003, 20:33
Firstly Boeing,what tribble,white paint is used mostly as it last longer and still looks OK even when old and faded.Now IF and I mean IF, wouldnt a GPU be provided for an aircraft with a U/S apu?
Miss B.Im a local and most of us are sick of the fares we have had to indure since Ansetts Departure.Full fare return too Adelaide with out any discount is just over $1000.00,Ring QF for your self!
Kanga your talk about you pay extra for service,What a crap, cardboard box with a cookie and a mouthfull of water,served to you by some dinosaur aged menapausal F/A whos layers of make up drip all over your tray table!!!
People are sick of Qantas,Just ask people.

MIss Behaviour
23rd Apr 2003, 22:48
Gottem, it may also be a case of people are sick of not having two airlines around so the one that remains cops the flack.

When capacity ASP/ADL or on any route for that matter is reduced by 50% for whatever reason, in this case because of the demise of an airline, that's 50% less discounted fares for the same amount of people.

If Virgin do start flying ASP/ADL things you would expect things to revert back to the way they were pre 14 Sep 2001.

F-flyer, I was springcleaning my email folders & happened to find the DJ itinerary SYD/BNE for $170.00 on 17 Jul 2001 but it does not specify whether it was a fully flexible fare (I do believe it was their most expensive one), how much time is needed to change etc just "for a full copy of the Virgin Blue terms and conditions please refer to the Virgin Blue website at

bush mechanics
24th Apr 2003, 20:50
Hey Kanga I dont realy care who you bat for!Miss B Im talking QF fares out of alice,Full fares no discount return to adelaide over 1grand
PS Kanga I dont miss ya!!!