Australian holidays for pounds 499

(First Edition)

THE first mass-market holidays in Australia, starting at pounds 499, were launched yesterday.

The breakthrough follows the Australian government's decision to approve new charter flights from London and Manchester.

The programme of holidays - including 14 days in Sydney with full accommodation for pounds 599 - was unveiled by Britain's second-largest package holiday group, Airtours, which is taking bookings from 21 April for holidays running from next November until April 1995 - high season in Australia.

Holidays can be extended to take in further time, up to 28 days, staying with friends or relatives living in Australia, for pounds 49 a week. Other features include child prices from pounds 399 for 14 nights and fly-drive deals from pounds 549 for seven nights.

The 22-hour flight includes two brief refuelling stops in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.