Virgin Express and Air Luxor Conclude Codeshare Agreement on Routes between Portugal and Brussels

PARIS, April 4, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Belgian low fare airline Virgin Express (Euronext Brussels:VIRE) (OTCBB:VIRGY) and the Portuguese airline Air Luxor have signed a codeshare agreement on the Brussels-Lisbon and Brussels-Faro routes. Air Luxor will buy capacity on the Virgin Express aircraft flying these routes. Each airline will sell its capacity through their respective distribution channels.

This agreement will enter into effect as from 1st May 2003.

Since March 30, 2003, Virgin Express has increased the number of flights between Brussels and Lisbon by operating two daily frequencies. In addition, the Belgian low fare airline offers four weekly rotations on the Brussels-Faro route. In July and August the red Virgin Express aircraft will even land once a day in the capital of the Algarve.

All flights between Portugal and Belgium are being carried out using Boeings 737-300 (142 seats). If demand justifies more capacity, Virgin Express will operate 737-400s (164 seats) or will add extra flights on peak days.

Neil Burrows, Managing Director of Virgin Express, stated: "Over recent years Virgin Express has proved its ability to widen and revitalize routes, which were suffering from monopolistic practices by other airlines. Our airline began flying to Portugal only 18 months ago."

"Today, Virgin Express is by far the most important airline on the Brussels-Faro and, in less than 12 months, our market share on the Brussels-Lisbon route has already reached 45%. The codeshare agreement with Air Luxor is of great importance to us, because having a solid partner in Portugal will not only strengthen Virgin Express's market position, but will also allow more choice and more frequencies at low fares to the travellers on our routes between Belgium and Portugal."

Paulo Mirpuri, President of Air Luxor, added: "Air Luxor is proud of this codeshare agreement with Virgin Express. It is truly an intelligent way of cooperation between two airlines, and it allows our airline to add a very important destination, i.e. Brussels, to its network."

About Air Luxor

Air Luxor is the leading private airline-based in Portugal with a modern fleet of 10 Airbus aircraft (one A319 and seven A320s for the medium haul flights and two A330s for the long haul flights).

Air Luxor offers scheduled services in and out of Lisbon, Oporto, Faro, Funchal, Porto Santo, Paris, Dublin and Sao Tome, plus over 40 seasonal routes around the world. Besides its main area of business -- air transportation of passengers and cargo -- Air Luxor also develops other related businesses, such as the air ambulance service, air cargo, consultancy and management of executive jets, aircraft maintenance and the development of private airport terminals.

In addition, Air Luxor owns Air Luxor Tours, one of the main tour operators in Portugal, specialised in holiday packages for Air Luxor's scheduled and charter destinations. In 2002, Air Luxor carried one million passengers and was for the 14th consecutive year profitable.

About Virgin Express

In 2002, Virgin Express booked and flew 2.7 million passengers, thus becoming the largest passenger carrier from Brussels Airport.

At present, the Belgian low fare carrier offers services from Brussels to Athens, Barcelona, Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Faro, Geneva, Gothenburg, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Malaga, Milan, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Rome and Stockholm. Virgin Express also operates a daily rotation between Rome and Amsterdam.

Last week, the Belgian low fare airline announced increased profits for year 2002. Virgin Express was named 'Best Short Haul Carrier of the Year 2002' by the Belgian travel trade industry. In 2002, its on-time performance network-wide was 91%.

High resolution pictures of Virgin Express aircraft:


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