Virgin plans Tassie tent terminal

A deal between Virgin Blue and Ansett's administrators has collapsed, denying Virgin Blue access to the failed airline's terminal at Launceston airport for its new Melbourne service, beginning on November 8.

Virgin said it was prepared to pitch a tent and hire folding chairs if that was the only way to provide the service. The news arrived just hours after the Australian Government announced it would subsidise services by a revived Ansett between Launceston and Melbourne.

Ansett will receive government support to operate the Melbourne-Launceston route. Liberal Party candidate for the Tasmanian marginal seat of Bass, Tony Benneworth, unveiled the support plan. David Huttner, commercial head at Virgin Blue, claims that the deal between Ansett and the Australian Government is arrogant. Virgin Blue had been set to use Ansett facilities and terminals at Launceston before the deal.