Virgin Takes To The Open Skies Between The Us And Australia

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31st March 2008, 05:35pm - Views: 715







Media Statement


PARLIAMENT HOUSE CANBERRA ACT 2600

Telephone: 02 6277 7680   Facsimile: 02 6273 4126


VIRGIN TAKES TO THE OPEN SKIES BETWEEN THE US AND AUSTRALIA


While the ink has barely dried on Australia’s landmark ‘open skies’ agreement with

the United States, its promise of greater choice and lower fares has already become

a reality following Virgin Blue’s announcement today that it will start flying regular

services to and from the US by the end of the year.


The US is the third most popular destination for Australian tourists, and the ‘open

skies’ agreement allows Australian and US airlines to increase flights, develop new

routes, offer innovative products and grow their businesses free from government

interference.


I am particular pleased that Virgin Blue is moving quickly to take advantage of the

new arrangements successfully negotiated by the Rudd Labor Government only a

month ago.


The Australian Government welcomes the airline’s decision to enter the long haul

international market through its new carrier – V Australia – and wishes Sir Richard

Branson and his team every success as they embark on this ambitious endeavour.


V Australia’s entry will provide travellers with greater options, put pressure on ticket

prices and create new jobs in our aviation and tourism industries.


But without the ‘open skies’ agreement, it would not have been possible for V

Australia to commence operations with its desired number of services.


The Rudd Labor Government is committed to the further liberalisation of the

international aviation market as the best way to keep fares affordable as well as give

both new and existing airlines the confidence to invest in additional aircraft.


Ultimately, greater competition is good for travellers, jobs and the economy,

particularly for a relatively remote island nation like Australia.


Already our aviation sector supports thousands of jobs and creates billions of dollars

in exports.  Equally, a thriving, competitive aviation sector helps satisfy the hunger

many Australians have for travelling and doing business overseas.


Last year, Australians took 5.5 million trips aboard and at any one time there are

more than one million Australians living and working overseas.



Contact:

Jeff Singleton

0410 476 890


Monday, 31 March 2008






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