Airline tipped to fly south

Pacific Blue planes might be flying south by the middle of the year.

Although no-one from the company could be reached to confirm it, Australian reports yesterday quoted Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey as saying Pacific Blue will start regional services to Dunedin and Invercargill in June.

Virgin Blue is the 100% shareholder of Pacific Blue. In The Australian newspaper yesterday, Mr Godfrey said the company would continue to invest in new initiatives, including a further expansion in New Zealand, which would see Pacific Blue starting regional services to Dunedin and Invercargill.

Airline industry website etravelblackboard quoted Mr Godfrey as saying the Dunedin and Invercargill markets would be online by the end of June when the next aircraft was delivered to Pacific Blue.

The new services were stil awaiting regulatory approval, the website said.

Mr Godfrey said on the website that Dunedin and Invercargill were the two markets the company had looked at that were close to getting what was needed out of the airports and facilities.

Pacific Blue management in New Zealand could not be contacted, and Virgin Blue management in Australia did not return calls.

Dunedin International Airport Ltd board chairman Richard Walls declined to comment, as did airport chief executive John McCall.

Vincent George House of Travel owner Vincent George said it would be great news for Dunedin and travellers if the airline flew here.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said he had heard rumours of Pacific Blue coming to Dunedin and it was inevitable another operator would arrive.

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