Virgin Australia

May 7, 2014

Virgin Australia is the ten year old domestic airways arm of Virgin Group Australia, a partially owned affiliate of Sir Richard Branson’s international Virgin group of companies.  Initiated as a budget carrier at the time Qantas’ only significant domestic competitor went into receivership in 2001, Virgin Australia has evolved into the second major domestic air carrier.  Today the airline exceeds 30 per cent domestic market share, operating a network of 78 Boeing 737, Airbus A-330, Embraer E-170 and E-190 and ATR-72 aircraft to 32 Australian airports.

Within the past two years, a new CEO at Virgin Group (formerly head of operations at Qantas) has signalled the intention to increase the range and appeal of premium guest services, competing more directly with Qantas for the corporate and high-yield tourism market.  It is anticipated that this will mean a gradual introduction of separate cabins for premium seating, expanded lounge programs, and larger aircraft into the fleet.

Virgin Australia offers a packaged set of three or more destinations on their Australian domestic network to non-residents booking from outside Australia or New Zealand for $79 to $179 per flight.  There is no requirement that the guests arrive in Australia on Virgin Australia’s partner international carrier V-Australia, implying flexibility in the unlinking of the domestic flights from the international.  This offer is accessed via a special website www.virginblueairpass.com

Virgin Australia service standards are good by international expectations, with perky, attentive no-frills in-flight services, a good website for self-booking and arguably the best check-in counter staff in Australia.  Seats are pre-assigned 24 hours before flight time, and food and beverage and in-flight entertainment is on a pay-per-use basis, except for premium economy where these are included in the fare.  For more information see www.virginaustralia.com.au


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