The Virgin Group's Australian venture Virgin Blue Airlines Pty Ltd said yesterday it would kick off its no-frills domestic service with seven daily return flights between Sydney and Brisbane.
A Virgin spokeswoman said the airline was confident it would be able to launch before the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in August, but was still waiting to receive its air operator's certificate from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (Casa).
"We're meeting with Casa each week in relation to getting the certificate," Amanda Bolger, Virgin Blue's media manager said.
"Our pilots and flight attendants are undergoing training and our first aircraft is expected to touch down within the next few weeks from Europe," she said.
Virgin, which has employed around 35 pilots and 80 flight attendants, will begin its operations using five Boeing 737-400 aircraft and may expand its fleet before the year-end.
The initial schedules and fares would be announced by the end of June, Virgin said in a statement, adding its takeoff and landing slots would help make its timetable suitable for business and leisure travellers.
The airline would quickly add services from Brisbane to Melbourne, with a Sydney-Brisbane route planned for after the Olympics.
Virgin, like local regional carrier Impulse Airlines, plans to challenge the domestic airline duopoly of Qantas Airways Ltd and Ansett Australia. -- Reuters