12 Nov 2002

Australia's Virgin Blue ponders expansion into Pacific

6:32 pm on 12 November 2002

The Australian airline, Virgin Blue, has called for expressions of interest from potential overseas destinations and other stakeholders to gauge support for international services.

A Virgin Blue manager, David Huttner, says Australian and New Zealand cities with international airports have been approached as have some twenty other countries, including Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Indonesia, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Guam, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

Mr Huttner told the Australian news agency AAP that the carrier wants to ensure every party is given the chance to put their case, be it an airport, a tour operator or tourism office.

He says Virgin Blue has already received a number of inquiries from potential destinations.

But, Virgin Blue says it will not be considering destinations beyond a range of about five flying hours from a suitable Australian or New Zealand international airport.