Pacific Blue is the New Zealand based subsidiary of Australian airline Virgin Blue. Based in Christchurch, it currently operates low-fare air services within New Zealand, between New Zealand and Australia, and to the Pacific Islands. It also operates services on behalf of Polynesian Blue. Its New Zealand bases are Christchurch Airport and Auckland Airport.
The airline was established in 2003 and started operations in January 2004 with a service between Christchurch and Brisbane, Australia. Pacific Blue also operated Wellington to Sydney for three months, but this service was cancelled in favour of services to Brisbane. The airline operates 283 services a week throughout Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.
As of the first flight of 1 August 2007 (local date), the ICAO was changed from PBI to PBN. This was done in consultation with air traffic controllers to prevent confusion between the letter I and the number 1 in flight plans.
On 21 August 2007, Pacific Blue announced its intention to begin domestic services in New Zealand with the first flights scheduled to operate early November. The initial routes were Auckland–Wellington, Christchurch–Wellington and Auckland–Christchurch. Upon this announcement competitors dropped their lead-in fares by up to 30%. Launch fares were made available for NZ$9 (AU$7.70) on all routes. Services began on November 12. The entry of Pacific Blue into the domestic market saw huge growth in passenger numbers at all three airports.
In April 2008 Pacific Blue announced a new domestic route to Dunedin, the first significant challenge to mainly monopoly routes into regional areas. The first flight was on 1 July. Pacific Blue also announced a range of service increases to existing international routes to meet demand.
Pacific Blue's fleet consists of the following aircraft as of September 2008:
|Boeing 737-800||9 |
Pacific Blue has launched domestic services in New Zealand. These services are operated using their fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft and were originally due to begin November 15 2007, although an announcement in mid-October pushed this forward to 12 November.
Pacific Blue has acquired two additional Boeing 737-800s from parent airline Virgin Blue's fleet, to enable the airline to operate New Zealand domestic services. Up to now Pacific Blue has only operated international flights from New Zealand to Australia and the Pacific Islands. The first routes are Auckland–Wellington, Auckland–Christchurch, Wellington–Christchurch, Dunedin–Christchurch.
On-Time Performance (OTP) remains high with the airline recording OTP figures in excess of 90%. Recently Pacific Blue began to champion the auditing and reporting of OTP for all NZ based airlines as part of its consumer awareness drive.