PASSENGERS arrive on Virgin Blue?s inaugural flight to the Gold Coast from Newcastle yesterday.
PASSENGERS arrive on Virgin Blue?s inaugural flight to the Gold Coast from Newcastle yesterday.

Virgin drops in from Newcastle

By NADINE FISHER

THE inaugural Virgin Blue flight from Newcastle touched down at the Gold Coast yesterday, marking another first for the leisure airline.

The direct daily flight from Newcastle increases the airline carrier's service to 18 flights a day to the Gold Coast.

Virgin Blue government relations advisor John O'Callaghan said the increase in flights to the Gold Coast was great for additional tourism growth in the area.

"It's good for aviation as well. We are always looking for ways to grow the market and are thankful for the support we have with Gold Coast Airport," he said.

"It's a big opportunity for Gold Coast business people as well - the convenience factor of not having to go to Brisbane and the flight is only 40 minutes."

Gold Coast Airport Limited corporate affairs manager Cassandra Dalziel said Virgin Blue contributed significantly to the airport's increase in passenger numbers.

"Since they have come on board we have recorded record passenger numbers on a monthly basis four times this year," she said.

"This also shows an increase in confidence in Gold Coast Airport."

The new 140-seat service increases the amount of flights into and out of the Gold Coast from 125 to 132 per week and follows hot on the heels of recently launched Gold Coast-toChristchurch flights which took off earlier this month.

Everyday low fares start from $79 one way on the net, with a flexisaver fare of $269 one way.

Businesswoman and passenger on the inaugural flight Ellen Davis-Mee- han said it was great to have the direct flight from Newcastle.

"It will make business trips to the Coast much easier," she said.

Brett and Paula McLennan flew in for a family holiday on the Gold Coast with their sons David and Matthew.

"We're here for a five-day holiday on the Gold Coast and it is fantastic to get a flight from Newcastle rather than go into Sydney," Mr McLennan said.

"It was a quick flight, only 40 minutes, which is great when you've got kids," Mrs McLennan said.

Steve Buchan and his three children, Karly, Sara and Daniel, arrived for a five-day holiday on the Gold Coast on the inaugural flight from Newcastle.

"We live in Nelson Bay which is near the airport and this is our first time here," Mr Buchan said.



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