V Australia

V Australia


V Australia

Richard Branson in Sydney, Australia

Press Release


* The Virgin Blue Group introduces V Australia, its new premium three class international airline
* Sydney-Los Angeles daily to be V Australia Airlines launch route….more to come!
* V Australia to launch flights from 15 December 2008 - $999* return economy fares on sale at www.vaustralia.com.au or via www.virginblue.com.au
* SYDNEY announced as V Australia’s operational base

Monday 31 March 2008: Sydney, Australia: Australia’s newest International Airline, V Australia, has announced daily direct Sydney-Los Angeles flights as its inaugural trans-Pacific route and a premium product offering when it takes to the skies from 15 December 2008.*

The announcement was made in Sydney today by Virgin Blue co-founders Sir Richard Branson and Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, together with New South Wales Premier, The Hon. Morris Iemma.

Sir Richard Branson said, “In a delightful case of déjà vu, I was here eight years ago at Customs House with Brett in Sydney announcing our intention to launch a new airline for Australia. That airline was Virgin Blue.”

He continued, “I am excited to be back here today to join the Virgin Blue and V Australia teams in unveiling bold plans for our new international airline and we are hopeful our Australian friends will join us for the ride. The trans-Pacific route is in dire need of competition and a good shake-up and that’s a challenge we are always keen to take on.”

Sir Richard Branson added, “The launch of V Australia means the Virgin Group for the first time will offer a global network of airlines that allow travellers to fly worldwide on Virgin airlines’ that all share the same vision and commitment to safety, service, fun and flair.”

V Australia Airlines officially starts selling seats today, just in time for Christmas travellers to take advantage of the competitive fares.

To celebrate the “go live” sale date, V Australia Airlines is offering Australian travellers 1,000 International Economy seats between Sydney and Los Angeles for $999* return inclusive of all taxes and charges of approximately $415 (Internet sale fare). Every day economy fares will start from $1899 return which is 16% lower than the current lowest available published fare on the route for the same travel period (as at noon Sunday 30 March 2008).

The launch of V Australia Airlines will be the first time ever there has been a second Australian airline competing on the trans-Pacific route. It comes just weeks after the Australia and US Governments signed an historic open skies agreement, allowing Australian or US owned airlines to fly freely between the two countries.

V Australia Airlines will offer the full suite of products expected of an international long haul airline but with its usual twist of innovation as part of its three class offering.

Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “I am pleased to announce that V Australia Airlines will be a contemporary modern Australian style airline, initially offering three classes of travel including International Business, International Premium Economy and International Economy.”

He continued, “We have spent the past two years researching what people value most in an international travel experience and our research shows that the highest ranking desirables are seat size, personal space and being entertained.”

“We held off finalising our own in-flight offering until other international airlines unveiled their updated product highlights. Off the back of that, we made modifications to ensure V Australia’s in-flight products and services benchmark favourably against all competitors, including those flying today or those with declared plans for tomorrow.”

V Australia’s product will include full service features such as complimentary meals and beverages and generous seating. The airline will also be the only airline operating on the trans-Pacific to offer the latest in-flight technology connectivity throughout all cabins so Guests are able to send and receive SMS text messages, as well as send and receive emails using GPRS devices such as BlackBerrys® and mobile phones exactly as they are used on the ground.

Brett Godfrey added, “V Australia’s focus on space, comfort and entertainment, coupled with Virgin Blue’s renowned customer service will stand the airline in good stead to compete with the region’s best carriers, with the added bonus of lowering the fares.”

“International Business” will be a boutique style executive business product with an intimate dedicated cabin and crew. International Business will offer a fully flat horizontal bed (stretch out and sleep with 77 inches of space) and offers choice and individuality, including the freedom of an à la carte menu and on demand entertainment so Guests can watch and eat what they want, when they want, depending on personal preference.

“International Premium Economy” will be an all-inclusive dedicated cabin. It will offer 40 seats that are amongst the largest seats ever offered in a Premium Economy class of any airline, either flying today or declared to fly in the future. The seats boast a full 20 inches of width and a 9 inch recline and no seat will have less than 38 inches of leg room. The new premium style of travel is tailored to those who want more comfort, more space and the little things that make a difference including mood lighting and in-seat audio and video on demand.

“International Economy” will provide the most spacious economy seating option of any airline operating the trans-Pacific route, individual on-demand seat back entertainment and comfy seating (designed for the yet to fly Boeing 787) in a 3x3x3 configuration, with an unparalleled 18.8 inches of seat width and 32 inches of leg room. V Australia’s International Economy will offer more for less in terms of superior comfort for some 16% lower than existing fares on the route.^

V Australia will unveil further details about its discount fares and its in-flight product in coming months but travellers can expect some of Virgin’s personable point of difference including crew that will take service levels to a new height for trans-Pacific travel.

V Australia has confirmed its Sydney-LA launch route following months of discussions and negotiations with a number of airports in both Australia and the United States of America.

The schedule has been specifically designed to offer the only daily evening departure from Sydney to LA, allowing travellers a full day’s work or play in Australia before heading to the United States. V Australia will initially launch with daily trans-Pacific services and will ramp up additional frequencies as it takes delivery of more brand new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft direct from the Boeing factory. V Australia is also looking at other potential international destinations and will announce its next two markets in coming weeks.

Sydney-Los Angeles was chosen as the first route for V Australia due to both Sydney and Los Angeles being major gateway cities in both countries. In the United States, passengers will be able to connect to or from North West Airlines, the first US based airline to partner with V Australia Airlines and the fifth largest airline in the world, to continue on to other US cities. In Australia, Virgin Blue’s Sydney hub will offer a host of connecting options from V Australia, starting with Virgin Blue’s domestic destinations and expanding to include connections to Pacific Blue flights to New Zealand and the South Pacific.

V Australia has also announced it will set up its Australian operations in Sydney, with over 1,000 new team members to be based there. The airline will base its recently acquired aircraft simulator and soon-to-be acquired Cabin Crew Trainer in Sydney and conduct its 777 pilot and cabin crew training in the state. The overall investment is worth at least $44-million.

NSW Premier, The Hon. Morris Iemma, said, “We are delighted V Australia has chosen Sydney to be its main Australian operational base as well as Sydney-LA as its first route. The launch of this new airline is set to bring great benefits to Australia and in particular for New South Wales, as it will not only bring a new wave of visitors to our shores, it is creating jobs for Australians in an exciting, vibrant and dynamic industry.”

Brett Godfrey said, “Today is a very significant day for V Australia, for Virgin Blue, for our team, for Australian and US travellers and Australian tourism.”

“We are proud as an Australian airline to be bringing a new, contemporary and passionate airline to the trans-Pacific market that will bring genuine competition and a fresh alternative to travellers.”

Brett Godfrey added, “V Australia Airlines is a multi-billion dollar investment for the Virgin Blue Group of Airlines and it’s not one we have taken lightly. Today’s announcements are the first of many and we have every intention of bringing revolutionary change not just to the trans-Pacific route but across the region.”

Members of Virgin Blue’s loyalty program “Velocity” will be able to both “earn and burn” flights with V Australia with one return International Business flight from Sydney to LA earning enough points to redeem for 2 return Virgin Blue flights between Sydney and Melbourne.**

For V Australia Airlines bookings, log on to www.vaustralia.com.au or via www.virginblue.com.au, call 138 287 or contact your local travel agent. (Note: Agent bookings to come on line shortly)

^ Based on current lowest available published fare on the route for the same travel period as V Australia commencing operations

* Subject to regulatory approval. Launch fare on sale from 10am AEST Monday 31 March 2008 until sold out for travel between 15

December 2008 and 15 March 2009. A credit card surcharge of an additional $15 per person per booking is applicable. Terms and conditions

apply. The launch fare may not be available on all flights

** Based on redeeming an R class fare and valid as at 31 March 2008. Taxes and surcharges are payable separately at time of booking


Virgin goes premium with V Australia, By Leah McLennan
(Credit: News.com.au)


* Virgin launches new premium airline
* Fare war, $999 return to LA
* Challenges Qantas's near monopoly

FARES on the lucrative trans-Pacific route are expected to drop dramatically as Virgin Blue Holdings's new international airline, V Australia, goes head to head with Qantas.

V Australia will fly daily from Sydney to Los Angeles from December, signifying the end of Qantas' near-monopoly on the route to the United States.

United Airlines is the only other airline offering a daily trans-Pacific service.

V Australia's launch follows the clinching of an Open Skies agreement between Australia and the US, which Prime Minister Kevin Rudd witnessed the signing of in Washington today.

The prime minister hailed the agreement as a "new era" in trans-Pacific aviation links.

"Its aim is to make it easier and cheaper for even more people to make the air journey across the Pacific to add more strands to our ties," he said.

Speaking at V Australia's launch in Sydney yesterday, Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson said ticket prices from Australia to the US would fall.

"There is going to be very fierce competition, as there is with Virgin Blue and Qantas in Australia, and fares will definitely drop quite dramatically across this route," Sir Richard said.

"Our philosophy is never to go out with an empty seat."

V Australia's return economy seats start from $1899 return, 16 per cent lower than the current lowest available fare on the route, it said.

A special promotion of 1000 international economy seats for $999 went on sale yesterday and quickly sold out.

Qantas, the dominant carrier on the route with 17 weekly frequencies, is expected to respond aggressively with its own pricing initiatives.

Qantas yesterday said they had "no comment" on the launch of the new carrier.

"It's the best thing to happen to Australian international airline operations for years," Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation chairman Peter Harbison said.

"Even the initial pricing illustrates that there will be some new fare competition - and Qantas will respond, specifically targeting the V Australia Sydney-Los Angeles route, so that it becomes more attractive for travellers."

V Australia is targeting Qantas' premium business on the route, unveiling a new business class product which has a so-called "lie flat" seat - Qantas and American Airlines currently offer a tilt bed in international business class.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said V Australia's entry into the market was good news for the Australian economy.

"Competition is good for consumers and it's good for the economy," Mr Albanese said.

Singapore Airlines regional vice president Paul Tan said the launch of V Australia was a step in the right direction for Australians seeking cheaper airfares to and from the US.

But Mr Tan said the skies could not be considered truly open until carriers like Singapore Airlines were allowed to fly the route.

With three new aircraft scheduled to join the fleet each year, V Australia is also looking at other potential international destinations in Asia and will announce its next two markets in the coming weeks.

New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma said the new service, which will have its hub in Sydney, was expected to bring more than 50,000 visitors to NSW this year.

Mr Iemma said V Australia would deliver an extra $78 million in tourism expenditure to the NSW economy annually.

Sir Richard, whose Virgin Group owns 25 per cent of Virgin Blue, said V Australia would improve earnings for Virgin Blue over the long term but would have "a big knock" on the balance sheet in the short term.

with AFP



V Australia



Virgin Blue

Richard Branson

Brett Godfrey


Media Man Australia does not represent V Australia. Media Man Australia does online advertising and conducts b2b with a number of arms of Virgin Enterprises Limited