Fliers hail new player in the sky
HAPPY to have some competition were the words on everyone's lips at the Virgin Australia community day at the Emerald Airport on Saturday.
Strong numbers came along to walk through the 68 seater ATR-72 aircraft as well as taking part in the festivities which included a jumping castle, face painting and free barbecue.
Twenty Virgin Australia crew members, cabin crew and pilots flew up from Brisbane to show off the brand new aircraft to prospective customers wanting to test the comfort levels of the seats.
The community day was held in celebration of Virgin Australia launching its services in Emerald on January 16 and regional operations general manager Don McKillop said he was very excited to bring competition to the Central Highlands.
"We had excited kids and excited parents to see some competition at last," he said.
"We have had strong support from our forward bookings which is very encouraging."
Virgin Australia will fly twice daily from Emerald, though Mr McKillop said there were plans in place to increase that in the near future with the goal to keep fares low to remain competitive.
"(The aircraft is) very fuel efficient and lower operation costs mean we can keep the fares low," he said.
Prospective customers Charles and Allanah Loch gave their tick of approval after walking through the aircraft and comparing prices.
"It smells new and it's good to see some competition," Allanah said.
"Overall a good impression - I'll fly with them."