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Blimey, London’s On Sale For Under Two Grand

By James Wilkinson

Just six months ago, return flights to London for under $2000 were a pipedream. But today it’s a reality with a number of airlines offering the cheapest Sydney-London return airfares this decade.

This pic of Sir Richard Branson was snapped at the
launch of Virgin Atlantic 25 years ago. To celebrate
the airline is offering its cheapest ever airfares.

Thanks to fuel surcharges being cut in half, greater capacity on the route and fewer travellers, airlines are selling tickets to Europe for less than many North American and Asian destinations.

Telephone enquiries by SpiceNews this morning found airfares ranging from $1810 to $2045 (return, including all taxes and surcharges) between Sydney and London on a selection of the world’s leading airlines.

Thai Airways was the cheapest at $1810 via Bangkok, followed by Etihad at $1997 via Abu Dhabi, British Airways at $1999 via Bangkok or Singapore, Emirates at $2029 via Dubai and Virgin Atlantic at $2045 via Hong Kong.

The cheap flights also come at a time when the value of the Australian dollar against the pound continues to rally. This morning, the Australian dollar was trading at 47 pence for one dollar, up from a low of 38 pence in October 2008.

Along with the London return flights for $1999, British Airways is offering a free side trip to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Jersey or Newcastle as part of a campaign to stimulate travel to Britain.

“Europe is the place to be in 2009 and this special offer gives travellers on a budget the chance to explore London before flying to a second destination,” said British Airways regional general manager – South West Pacific, Roger Burr.

Travellers can expect the special deals to London to last some time, with Virgin Atlantic set to offer a range of cheap airfares – including their lowest ever – during the course of 2009, as Sir Richard Branson’s airline celebrates its 25th anniversary of flying.

“We’re fighting back against the doom and gloom in the airline industry [and] while our competitors are feeling down in the dumps, our passengers want us to celebrate the transformation we’ve brought about in the industry since our launch in 1984,” said Virgin Atlantic CEO, Steve Ridgway.

“You can count on Virgin Atlantic to raise spirits with some of our lowest fares ever and look into the future with optimism, as we did 25 years ago.”