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Virgin Atlantic And Virgin Blue Announce Codeshare Using Revolutionary Technology

15/06/2005

Navitaire Helps Airlines Link Reservation Systems

15 June 2005: Six months following the high-profile launch of its inaugural flight to Australia, Sir Richard Branson’s International airline, Virgin Atlantic, has teamed up with Australian sister airline Virgin Blue in a much anticipated codeshare effective from 17 July 2005.


In keeping with both Virgin airlines’ history of innovation, the code share is possible due to a world first technology breakthrough. The IT teams of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue and Navitaire will roll out new codeshare technology - successfully linking the unique Navitaire ‘Open Skies’ reservations system utilised by Virgin Blue and many of the world’s low cost carriers with the more complex traditional reservations system used by Virgin Atlantic.


The development allows Virgin Atlantic, which currently flies daily from Sydney to Hong Kong and London, to extend its offering - through a codeshare service operated by Virgin Blue - to Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and the Gold Coast. Guests flying on both award-winning airlines will benefit from being able to:


Travel to, from and within Australia on a single Virgin Atlantic code on designated services.

Enjoy smooth and hassle free domestic and international connections between the two award-winning 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.

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.

Virgin Atlantic Head of Asia Pacific, Mackenzie Grant said:


“This dynamic new codeshare partnership sees the marrying of two airlines with a history of award-winning service and innovative products”.


“The benefits of this world’s first partnership are clear. Outbound codeshare flyers will now benefit from Virgin Atlantic’s product offering and extensive international network while Virgin Blue’s broad Australian coverage opens up some of Australia’s most beautiful destinations to inbound travelers”.


“Passengers currently flying on Virgin Atlantic are already enjoying an unrivalled flying experience. With offerings such as the Upper Class Suite - with the biggest fully flat bed in business class, on-board sit-down bar and in-flight massages - and our groundbreaking mid-cabin product, Premium Economy, we are proud to extend our services, through our sister airline, to a wider Australian audience”.


Virgin Blue Chief Executive Officer Brett Godfrey said “It’s an exciting step forward as it streamlines the process of booking ‘Virgin all the way’ making it easier for travel agents to book our Guests on both airlines.


“Importantly it also signals how, together, we can make a growing contribution to Australian inbound tourism, offering multi destination Australian itineraries in Northern Hemisphere markets to bring visitors into Sydney on Virgin Atlantic’s flights from London, and flying them further in Australia on board Virgin Blue.”


“At a technical level we’re also pretty pleased to again be an innovator, thanks to the IT teams of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue and Navitaire to roll out the new codeshare technology.”


Virgin Atlantic flies to 23 destinations worldwide, including Sydney, with more destinations planned for 2005 including Havana and The Bahamas. The airline has flown over four million passengers this year and plans to grow further next year through a mixture of new routes and extra capacity on Virgin Atlantic’s network. Virgin Atlantic has 29 aircraft in its fleet with an average age of under six years. For Virgin Atlantic bookings call 1300 727 340 or log on to www.virginatlantic.com.au


Award winning airline Virgin Blue and sister carrier Pacific Blue currently operate a fleet of 50 modern Boeing 737 aircraft flying to 23 destinations across metropolitan and regional Australia, as well as four International destinations taking in New Zealand, Vanuatu and Fiji. For Virgin Blue bookings log on to www.virginblue.com.au or call 13 6789. For Pacific Blue bookings log on to www.flypacificblue.com or call 13 1645 from Australia or 0800 670 000 from New Zealand. Virgin Blue was recently named OAG Best Low Cost/No Frills Airline of the Year 2005, for the second year in a row, in recognition of its high standards within the global aviation industry.


Navitaire provides reservation, direct distribution, revenue protection, operations recovery, decision-support and passenger revenue accounting technology to the airline industry through its hosted delivery model. The company's worldwide customer base comprises more than 45 airlines, including six of the world's 10 largest airlines, and such successful carriers as jetBlue, AirAsia, AirTran, GOL, Ryanair, Continental Airlines and Air New Zealand. A wholly owned subsidiary of Accenture, Navitaire is headquartered in Minneapolis, with offices in Salt Lake City, Austin, Sydney, Manila and Prague. Its homepage is www.navitaire.com.