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Virgin Atlantic to fly to Australia

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News Release Hon. Laurie Brereton MP M i n i s t e r f o r T r a n s p o r t ♦ M i n i s t e r f o r I n d u s t r i a l R e l a t i o n s T30/95 12 May, 1995


Virgin Atlantic will begin air services between the United Kingdom and Australia next month through a code-share arrangement with Malaysia Airlines (MAS), the Minister for Transport Laurie Brereton, announced today.

M r Brereton said that arrangements had been concluded between the Australian and UK governments which would see Virgin fly all the way to Australia in its own right.

The Minister held talks with Richard Branson on the airline’s plans to fly to Australia. Under the proposal originally put forward by Virgin there was no commitment for Virgin to fly here with its own jets. Virgin had sought approval to operate 660 seats

per week on a code-share basis using MAS aircraft as the link to Australia.

“The Government is more than happy to see a new competitor on the route from London to Australia but we want it to be real competition involving the presence on the route o f a new carrier,” M r Brereton said.

“I am pleased to say that Virgin will start code-share services this month under new arrangements with the UK Government which Australia has approved for an interim period o f 12 months. Further code-share approval is contingent upon a definite date for Virgin operating services in its own right.”

Mr Brereton said that Mr Branson had given the Government an undertaking that within the next twelve months he would announce the date on which Virgin starts flying to Australia with its own aircraft. It is most likely to be towards the end o f 1996.

“I have asked that further air service discussions be held with the UK authorities so that agreements can be reached to guarantee more flights between the UK and Australia by the airlines of both sides,” M r Brereton said.

Media contact: Kate Hannon (06) 277 7320