Source: The Mercury, 3 April, 2001, p.??


Tourism spreads wings on Impulse

By ANNE BARBELIUK 
 
TASMANIA welcomed a 
new era of cut-price air 
travel yesterday as 
Impulse Airline's 
inaugural flight touched 
down in Hobart. 
 
   The new service is the 
most successful the 
airline has launched- 
with all of this week's 
flights close to 
capacity. 
 
   In the discount 
carrier's first day of 
operation in Tasmania 
there were four flights to 
and from Melbourne, 
some travellers flying 
for as little as $40 one 
way. 
 
   Premier Jim Bacon 
greeted Impulse 
executive chairman 
Gerry McGowan as he 
disembarked from the 
airline's first inbound 
flight which arrived, on 
schedule, at 10.10am. 
 
   "This is a longawaited 
day," Mr Bacon said. 
 
   He said Impulse's 
arrival had already led to 
a boost of confidence in 
the state tourism sector, 
with estimates the 
industry would grow by 
up to 15 per cent over 
the next year as a result 
of the third carrier. 
 
   Mr McGowan said the airline had 
been thrilled with the response to 
the new service, with the Hobart- 
Melbourne route the most popular 
it had launched. 
 
   Passenger loadings on all of 
yesterday's flights were more than 
75 per cent, with a couple full. 
 
   No other Impulse route has been 
met with such high demand. 
 
   "We are very pleased to be here. 
The response we have had has been 
overwhelming," Mr McGowan 
said. 
 
   One of the passengers who 
arrived on the first flight, Anna 
Guerra, from Melbourne, said she 
was delighted with the service and 
not bothered by the fact the no- 
frills carrier did not provide meals. 
 
   "It's too short a trip for food," 
said Ms Guerra, who had paid $272 
return. 
 
   The first super-discount $40 
Melbourne fares were on the 
offpeak 10.40am flight out of 
Hobart. Only two passengers on that 
service flew for $40. 
 
   Mr Bacon said $115 million 
worth of tourism infrastructure was 
under construction across the state, 
partly because of the Impulse- 
driven boost to tourism. 
 
   Mr McGowan said Impulse could 
sustain the cheap fares, even if 
another budget carrier entered the 
market.

Interest

   Discount carrier Virgin Blue has 
shown interest in flying to 
Tasmania. 
 
   Virgin Blue spokeswoman 
Amanda Bolger said there was still 
scope for Tasmania to be scheduled 
into the airline's flight path. 
 
   "Tasmania is definitely an area 
we are very interested in," Ms 
Bolger said. 
 
   She said the carrier would expand 
its route later this year after it 
bought more aircraft. 
 
Impulse's launch in the state 
has generated 33 Hobart-based jobs 
and more will be created if the 
carrier goes to Launceston. 
 
   Mr McGowan yesterday 
reaffirmed that Impulse would 
complete a feasibility study by 
September into the prospects of 
operating at Launceston. 
 
   "It is Impulse's intention to seek 
to further expand its presence and 
overall number of flight services 
into and out of Tasmania over 
time, subject to their commercial 
viability," he said. 
 
   Impulse's discount 
fares-purchased on a use-it-or- 
lose-it basis - to Melbourne start at 
$40 one way, then jump to $72, 
$99 and $139. The fully flexible 
fare is $172. 
 
   Kendell joined the price war last 
week when it offered a $39.60 
Hobart-Melbourne deal one way 
and a $77 passage to Sydney, 
matching Impulse's cheapest deal 
for the same route.


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