By James Wilkinson
Conferencing in Australia’s red centre has been given a massive boost this week, following yesterday’s (Mar 8) announcement by Virgin Blue of new, direct daily flights between Sydney and Ayers Rock (Uluru) from August 2.
Virgin Blue is set to launch new Sydney-Uluru flights
The move by Virgin Blue breaks Qantas’ lucrative hold on the route and the airline’s CEO Brett Godfrey said expects more affordable airfares on the route by both carriers.
“We expect to find the only airline currently operating on the route will see fit to suddenly offer more reasonable fares,” he said.
Virgin Blue is celebrating the launch with a $149 one-way airfare, on sale until midnight March 21, 2010 and for travel between August 3, 2010 –September 23, 2010, and October 12 – December 16, 2010.
Godfrey said everyday fares would then start from $199 one way on the internet following the promotion.
“As the airline that introduced low fares to Australia ten years ago, we are excited to be expanding our route network to include Ayers Rock (Uluru),” he said.
“The timing is right for us to launch a new route as we take delivery of a new E-Jet later this year and we looked at a number of options before deciding Ayers Rock (Uluru) was the ideal destination to commit our new resources to.
“The decision reflects our view regarding the importance of Ayers Rock (Uluru) to the tourism industry and indeed to visitors from our own backyard, as well as from all over the world, who flock to the rock each year to marvel at the natural landmark,” he said.
Virgin Blue’s announcement has been welcomed by Voyages Hotels and Resorts – the company that operates Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, Voyages Longitude 131° and Ayers Rock Airport.
“We are delighted to attract Virgin Blue to this iconic destination and pleased that the airline is committed to further developing both Australian and international tourism to Uluru,” said Voyages Hotels and Resorts CEO, Chris Tallent.
“Virgin Blue’s new flights further endorse the significance of Uluru within the Australian landscape and the growing interest in the region’s indigenous culture.
“The new flights will complement the existing airline capacity and provide terrific opportunities for renewed growth, expansion and promotion of the region.
“We have no doubt that these new flights will stimulate strong growth in demand for the destination from within Australia and further improve international links through to the region, enabling even more travellers to experience the magnificent Red Centre and discover the spiritual heart of Australia,” he said.
Virgin Blue will operate an Embraer E190 aircraft on the Sydney-Ayers Rock (Uluru) route, carrying guests in two classes – Economy and the increasingly popular Premium Economy.