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When the US
to grant anti-trust
immunity to Virgin
Australia Airlines' proposed trans-Paci c joint
venture with Delta Air Lines, it added another
crucial element to the transformation the
Australian carrier has undergone.
Virgin Australia is the new entity comprised
of the former Virgin Blue Airlines and that
company's V Australia and Paci c Blue units. at
transformation has played out over the past year
under the carrier's 'Game Change' programme,
spearheaded by Chief Executive Officer John
e DOT announcement came just a few days
after the official public transformation of the
airline, as it shed its Virgin Blue brand and became
Virgin Australia. e new name is being used for
both the company's domestic and international
operations, allowing it to build one strong brand
that will be recognised globally.
e airline is already operating domestically
under the new name and by the end of the year its
international arms, V Australia and Paci c Blue,
will also operate under the Virgin Australia name
-- thanks to an agreement with Singapore Airlines,
49 percent owner of Virgin Atlantic, which had
previously prevented any use of the Virgin name
internationally. Consolidation of the brand into
one was a pivotal point in the airline's Game
Change programme, as was approval for the Virgin-
Delta alliance, Borghetti says.
Virgin and Delta have been working towards
the partnership for almost two years, with the
companies' rst proposal knocked back by the
DOT. Under the approved joint venture, Virgin
and Delta will collaborate on route, schedule and
product planning, code-sharing on each others'
networks and providing frequent yer programme
bene ts and lounge access to customers of both
The partners aim to provide passengers with
an expanded network of destinations, seamless
connections, a more convenient ight schedule,
more opportunities to earn frequent yer points
and access to more lounge. V Australia passengers
will bene t from connections to more than 200
destinations ser ved by Delta in North America,
while Delta passengers arriving in Sydney will have
access to Virgin's network throughout Australia
and the South Paci c.
e airlines have been code-sharing on certain
ser vices since January 2010 and recently expanded
this agreement to additional routes within Australia
and New Zealand, and in the US.
" e Delta alliance is a key plank in Virgin
strateg y to build an international
network of airline partners that offers global
coverage," says Borghetti.
at network of partners already includes Abu
Dhabi-based Etihad. e commercial partnership
with Etihad, which was launched last August,
allows Virgin to access Etihad's hub at Abu Dhabi
and its network of 65 destinations in North
America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, while
Etihad has access to Virgin's 45 destinations in
Australia, New Zealand and the Paci c.
In February, V Australia launched three-times
weekly ser vices between Sydney and Abu Dhabi,
with ights from Brisbane to be added by February
2012 and plans by the partners to eventually o er
27 weekly ser vices between Australia and the Arab
" is is a real game changer and positions us as
a truly global player," Borghetti proclaimed at the
announcement of the Etihad alliance.
Virgin Blue also has an alliance with Air New
Zealand, which culminated in the acquisition
earlier this year of 14.9 percent of the Australian
company by its New Zealand partner.
"This investment cements the important
relationship betwe en
Virgin Australia: an airline reborn
A new brand and approval for an alliance with Delta is the latest development for the former Virgin Blue. Emma
Kelly examines the airline's transformation.
Australia s strategy to build an international
relationship between our two airlines and
"The Delta alliance is a key plank in Virgin Australia's strategy
to build an international network of airline partners that offers
global coverage." -- Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti
Virgin Australia will operate two Airbus A330-200s
three-times daily between Sydney and Perth from June.
AsianAviation | JUNE 2011 37
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