Virgin new link to Centre for overseas tourists


p2224-Virgin,-Qantas-1By ERWIN CHLANDA
Adam Giles has a bet – a bottle of Grange – with Virgin boss John Borghetti that air fares will decrease across the Adelaide, Alice, Darwin airline sector by 27% or more: “I’m looking forward to paying that,” says the Chief Minister, hastening to add that he’s not encouraging gambling.
He was a passenger on this morning’s inaugural flight that made The Alice a two airline destination again, after the departure of Tiger last year.
Mr Giles says Virgin is seeking to push into regional areas, and the “iconic location” in The Centre was an obvious choice.
p2224-Virgin,-Giles-2Virgin’s Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton says: “Typically when we enter a new market we see airfares dropping by 20% to 30%.
“This market will be absolutely no different to the strategy we deployed in other parts of the country.”
p2224-Dave-BaticDave Batic (at right), who is the chairman of the industry Tourism Central Australia as well as the manager of the airport, says: “Only 11% of international passengers coming to the Territory are coming through Darwin.
“With the introduction of Virgin, and their associated airlines such as Singapore Airlines, there is going to be improved connectivity for international travelers.”
He says Virgin’s arrival is “another avenue to improve tourism. We are targeting the international market, through Darwin.
“And the ability to fly to New Zealand from Alice Springs on the Virgin network, through Darwin or Adelaide, is real now, and very competitive,” says Mr Batic.
PHOTOS: Virgin will nip Qantas in the tail • Mr Giles was one of the passengers on the inaugural flight.


  1. I hope this does not end as a pie in the sky. My money is on Qantas. How long will Virgin be here?
    As for more tourism, the town will have to lift their game. Services are shabby and expensive. On the other hand, what’s here? The town’s big mistake was letting Uluru to have an international airport.
    As I live and work here I spend my money here. Others should do the same.

  2. If the NT Government is really serious about ensuring Virgin remains in the market it would direct departments to allocate a reasonable percentage of their Alice – Darwin airfare spends to Virgin.
    Qantas flights between the two centres are regularly crowded with public servants who accumulate frequent flyer benefits.


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