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Virgin Blue and Virgin Atlantic Announce Codeshare Deal

07/12/2004

On the eve of its launch into Australian skies, Richard Branson’s International airline Virgin Atlantic has joined forces with its domestic sister carrier Virgin Blue to announce a dynamic code-share partnership to benefit all Guests travelling with the two award winning airlines.


The inaugural Virgin Atlantic flight from London will touch down on December 8 in the home country of Virgin Blue, which began operations in Australia in August 2000. Their arrival marks the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s service from Sydney to Hong Kong and London.


The code-share arrangement will mean a single Virgin Atlantic code for Guests flying on both airlines to, from and within Australia on the designated services. The partnership is expected to take effect by April 2005.


For Guests, it will mean smooth and hassle free domestic and international connections between the two Virgin airlines, be it for inbound tourists wanting to travel to some of Australia’s stunning destinations or Australian’s keen to experience Hong Kong and London and beyond.


Virgin Blue Public & Media Relations Manager, Amanda Bolger said, “We welcome the arrival of Virgin Atlantic into Australia with much enthusiasm and look forward to working with our sister airline. Both Virgin Blue and Virgin Atlantic have been recognised world wide as leaders in our respective markets and we are confident this new partnership will give travellers more freedom of choice in terms of value for money, outstanding service and the unique Virgin commitment to customer service.”


Virgin Atlantic Regional General ManagerSales and Marketing Manager, Gia Acitelli said, “We have witnessed the way Virgin Blue has revolutionised domestic air travel in Australia. They have brought low-cost travel to millions of Australians and firmly establish ed the Virgin brand within the Australian aviation industry. Their success has paved the way for the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s international full service offering.”


She continued, “Code-share f Flyers will benefit from Virgin Atlantic’s extensive International network as well as Virgin Blue’s broad Australian coverage. They will also benefit from the clear commitment of both Virgin carriers to groundbreaking innovations and products. Passengers flying on Virgin Atlantic, for example, will be able to enjoy unique offerings such as the Upper Class Suite - with the world’s longest fully flat bed, a private bar to drink with friends and their own private inflight massage room – or experience Virgin Atlantic’s Premier-Economy Class offering - a spacious mid-cabin between Economy and Upper Class pioneered by Virgin Atlantic.”


Virgin Blue has also demonstrated its dedication to cutting edge technology with the recent launch of self-serve “Blue Check” check-in facilities as well as the being the first airline in the southern hemisphere to offer Live-2-Air in-flight seatback entertainment from mid next year.


Amanda Bolger added, “Both airlines share the same customer service philosophy that has made the Virgin brand so successful globally. We are excited to be entering into this code-share arrangement with such a highly regarded International airline as Virgin Atlantic.”


The agreement will initially be for Guests travelling to and from London via Hong Kong to Sydney with a codeshare service operated by Virgin Blue to Brisbane, Coolangatta and Melbourne initially with plans underway to expand the agreement to other ports.


Gia Acitelli continued, “We have lobbied long and hard to bring competition to the Kangaroo route and together with Virgin Blue, we relish the opportunity to give the traditional players a run for their money and Guests more bang for their buck.”


Guests will be able to seamlessly book both their Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Blue flights at the same time via Virgin Atlantic reservations, removing the complicated process of multi-booking for various domestic and international flights.


Further code share enhancements are already in the pipeline such as an Inter-terminal Guest bus transfer between the Sydney International Airport and Sydney Domestic T2. The new initiatives will be announced closer to the launch of the code share arrangement next year.