fares go to ground in price war, by Alexandra Smith,
The Sydney Morning Herald)
Just when it seemed air fares were
as low as they could go, Virgin Blue has sparked
a new fare war, introducing $1 internet tickets
- plus $30 taxes and surcharges - for flights
between Melbourne and Adelaide.
to be beaten, its competitor Jetstar yesterday
followed with $1 fares between the same two cities,
but because Jetstar flies to Avalon rather than
Melbourne Airport, the surcharges and airport
taxes are just $23.
two airlines, and Jetstar's parent, Qantas, have
been battling it out for several weeks, each trying
to beat the other by advertising very low fares
- last week it was $9 - but not including the
war is likely to continue, with Virgin Blue promising
that its daily sale, which it calls "happy
hour" because the cheapest fares are only
available between 1pm and 2pm, was here to stay.
yesterday's low-key sale launch, kept quiet so
Virgin Blue could handle the additional website
traffic, more than 1000 $1 internet fares were
sold, double what it expected.
Virgin Blue spokeswoman, Amanda Bolger, said the
changing daily destinations would not be advertised
on the internet because the fares were designed
to suit travellers who decided where to go based
on price, not location.
a bit like a treasure hunt. People browse through
the fares online everyday," Ms Bolger said.
"It's really for people who are looking for
a romantic weekend away, and they may find somewhere
like Adelaide and decide to go there."
Ms Bolger said tickets would not be as low as
$1 every day, and taxes and surcharges would vary
depending on which airports the flights used.
There is also a $2 per person each-way credit-card
Bolger said the happy-hour sale was a "global
aviation first", designed to give travellers
"a bargain any day of the year, not just
at off-peak times when it suits the airline".
Jetstar spokesman, Simon Westaway, conceded the
airline followed suit because it was focused on
remaining competitive, but warned it would not
simply follow the lead of its rival.
Jetstar and Virgin Blue went head-to-head in a
fare battle, fierce criticism was directed at
Qantas following comments by its chief executive,
Geoff Dixon, that the airline could not afford
to be all-Australian because its competitors were
employing staff overseas to cut costs.
international benchmarks were followed, more than
7000 jobs could be moved overseas, he said. Last
night he confirmed the airline was considering
moving thousands of jobs offshore.
have said for the past three years that we must
source more people overseas and that our continued
growth of jobs in Australia depended on that."
Dixon said the airline was looking at a range
of possibilities, including joint ventures, "which
would, if they came to fruition, involve new jobs
being created in both Australia and other countries".
He said that regardless of any decision about
overseas jobs, the airline had no plan for wholesale
on Mr Dixon's earlier statement, the assistant
national secretary of the Australian Services
Union, Linda White, said they had created a sense
of fear because the airline could potentially
move a "limitless" number of jobs offshore.
White said 10,500 Qantas staff received postal
vote forms yesterday for the latest workplace
agreement, but many would question whether to
Sydney Morning Herald