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Virgin boosts regional routes, locks in AFL for 5 years

October 3, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Virgin Australia is using some of the smaller aircraft in its fleet to launch and extend Australian regional routes. On the sporting and promotional front, the airline has just signed a new five-year agreement with the AFL, the football code once known as Aussie Rules, extending the partnership until 2018.

In regional Queensland, Virgin Australia will begin direct flights between Brisbane and Cloncurry on 27 November 2013. Virgin Australia’s 98 seat Embraer E190 jet will operate a return Brisbane-Cloncurry service on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Virgin Australia Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton said: “Cloncurry is an important regional centre that has seen strong growth in the agriculture and resources industries. Up until now, those wishing to travel to Brisbane have needed to transit through Mount Isa or Townsville. From NovemberHH250x250-2 guests will be able to enjoy direct flights on our premium jet aircraft.

“As we have seen in other markets such as Moranbah and Bundaberg, a direct service brings many benefits to the community including greater access to specialist services and increased visitation.”

Virgin Australia is selling special promotional fares until 1 October 2013 (for selected travel times) from AUD 199 one way.

On the other side of the Australian continent, Virgin Australia will increase direct services between Perth and the Pilbara town of Karratha in Western Australia. The move reflects continuing strong demand from the mining and resources industry – proof indeed that the mining boom is not dead.

The new services are in addition to recent increases announced in June.

From 22 October 2013, two weekly return services will be added between Perth and Karratha. These additional weekday services will be operated by Virgin Australia’s 100-seat Fokker 100 jet aircraft. The new services will depart Perth at 2.45pm on Tuesdays and Fridays arriving in Karratha at 4.45pm.

Then to AFL. As the official airline of the AFL since January 2011, Virgin Australia carries the 18 AFL teams, including the standard travelling party of 60 players, staff and officials, across Australia and overseas.

An agreement signed on Friday will see the partnership reach new heights, the airline stated, with Virgin Australia becoming Naming Rights Partner of the AFL Grand Final Half Time entertainment, the Premiership Party and the Grand Final Week Party, as well as the innovative “Any Game, Anywhere” platform, which provides AFL fans with tailored packages for Virgin Australia airfares, match tickets and accommodation.

Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said the partnership had gone from strength to strength since its launch almost three years ago.

“It is a great honour to be the official airline of Australia’s most popular sport, especially during such an exciting period of growth and expansion for the game.

“Over the past three years, we have carried AFL teams on over 450 flights, provided tens of thousands of extra seats to support fans attending finals matches and launched innovative initiatives to promote the sport and reward its fans.

“The AFL players are some of the most frequent flyers in the country and it is therefore a huge vote of confidence in Virgin Australia that they were keen to extend our partnership.

“We look forward to continuing to provide the AFL with the best possible travel experience and working together to support its large Australian fan base”, Mr Borghetti said.

Written by : Peter Needham

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