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Marketing sweetener attracts Virgin to Chch

By Chris Hutching

Friday 19th September 2003

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Virgin Blue's new transtasman airline, called Pacific Blue, will operate from a base at Christchurch International Airport after reaching an agreement that will result in local ratepayers funding a joint marketing operation worth about $1 million.

Christchurch International Airport and a marketing group called Christchurch and Canterbury Marketing are both city council subsidiaries that have agreed to join Pacific Blue in a marketing venture.

Christchurch airport executives claim the new airline will improve options for South Island travellers and boost employment, trade and tourism opportunities worth over $140 million to the South Island.

To kick-start the new service the airline is offering "thousands of seats" at a special introductory price of $99 one-way from Christchurch to Brisbane.

After the launch special is finished, Pacific Blue will be offering everyday low fares on that route from $NZ189, with fully flexible walk-up fares of $349.

Fully flexible fares in both directions are nearly half what competitors are offering.

Pacific Blue will launch its maiden service with a fleet of new, red Boeing 737-800 aircraft, emblazoned with on their side.

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