21 Sep 2004

Virgin Blue looks to further expansion of services in Pacific

8:26 am on 21 September 2004

Australia's low-fare airline, Virgin Blue, says it has been exploring partnership arrangements with a number of Pacific airlines.

Virgin Blue has begun twice weekly flights from Australia to Vanuatu and plans to fly from Australia to the Cook Islands, via New Zealand, once a week from late this year.

The airline began services to Fiji from Australia recently.

Virgin Blue's head of strategy and communications, David Huttner, says the airline has visited Samoa and Tonga and is considering them and other options.

"We'll consider any destination. We need to really look at all of them thoroughly to identify where low fares and real competition will make a difference. Right now a lot of these ports are depending on monopoly or virtual-monoply services and we think they would benefit from low fares. We're seeing it here in Australia and the countries that don't get those low-fare services will find themselves competing with the countries that do have them for the tourist dollar."

David Huttner of Virgin Blue.