Branson in Sydney, Australia
NEWEST INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE GOES ON SALE –
FLIGHTS TAKE OFF FROM 15 DECEMBER 2008*
FROM THE HARBOUR TO HOLLYWOOD - V AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES
SYD-LAX AS LAUNCH ROUTE
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
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.*
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Airlines officially starts selling seats today,
just in time for Christmas travellers to take
advantage of the competitive fares.
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).
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.^
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
Godfrey said, “Today is a very significant
day for V Australia, for Virgin Blue, for our
team, for Australian and US travellers and Australian
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.”
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.”
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.**
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
Subject to regulatory approval. Launch fare on
sale from 10am AEST Monday 31 March 2008 until
sold out for travel between 15
2008 and 15 March 2009. A credit card surcharge
of an additional $15 per person per booking is
applicable. Terms and conditions
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
goes premium with V Australia, By Leah McLennan
Virgin launches new premium airline
* Fare war, $999 return to LA
* Challenges Qantas's near monopoly
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.
will fly daily from Sydney to Los Angeles from
December, signifying the end of Qantas' near-monopoly
on the route to the United States.
Airlines is the only other airline offering a
daily trans-Pacific service.
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.
prime minister hailed the agreement as a "new
era" in trans-Pacific aviation links.
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,"
at V Australia's launch in Sydney yesterday, Virgin
chairman Sir Richard Branson said ticket prices
from Australia to the US would fall.
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.
philosophy is never to go out with an empty seat."
return economy seats start from $1899 return,
16 per cent lower than the current lowest available
fare on the route, it said.
promotion of 1000 international economy seats
for $999 went on sale yesterday and quickly sold
the dominant carrier on the route with 17 weekly
frequencies, is expected to respond aggressively
with its own pricing initiatives.
yesterday said they had "no comment"
on the launch of the new carrier.
the best thing to happen to Australian international
airline operations for years," Centre for
Asia Pacific Aviation chairman Peter Harbison
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."
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.
Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said V Australia's
entry into the market was good news for the Australian
is good for consumers and it's good for the economy,"
Mr Albanese said.
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.
Mr Tan said the skies could not be considered
truly open until carriers like Singapore Airlines
were allowed to fly the route.
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
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.
Iemma said V Australia would deliver an extra
$78 million in tourism expenditure to the NSW
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.
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