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Thai Airways International & Virgin Blue Strike A New Deal for International Travellers from Ballina to Bangkok and Beyond
Wednesday 20 February 2008: THAI and Virgin Blue have today jointly announced the signing of a interline agreement that sees the carriers join forces with an enhanced and seamless product for international travellers flying between and within Australia and Thailand.
The agreement means Virgin Blue Airlines will be the carrying airline from 13 key domestic destinations in Australia, via THAI’s four international gateway ports: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to both Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand.
The Virgin Blue destinations included in the interline agreement are: Adelaide, Canberra, Broome, Mackay, Rockhampton, Maroochydore, Cairns, Townsville, Hobart, Launceston, Ballina, Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast. All these ports will connect with the two most popular destinations in Thailand, Bangkok and Phuket via the Australian capital city gateways for Thai Airways International.
This is the first interline partner for Virgin Blue where interline e-ticketing is possible and has been made possible by the joint IT efforts by both airlines to provide the IT capabilities. IT means Virgin Blue and THAI are ahead of the deadline imposed by International Air Transportation Association (IATA) for all international airlines to be e-ticket compliant by May 2008. At the initial stage, the THAI and Virgin Blue partnership will cover flights between Australia and Thailand, with the intention to extend the agreement to other Thai Airways destinations around the world
Special fares have been created for travel on THAI and Virgin Blue sectors only and to be issued on the same ticket. The fare distribution channel will be via the Global Distribution Systems of Amadeus, Galileo and Sabre.
For travellers, the relationship between the two carriers means an enhanced travel experience with the interline of checked luggage available at THAI’s gateways for international travellers through to their final destination.
Kn Korakot Chatasingha, General Manager, Australia for Thai Airways International welcomed the new agreement.
“Thai Airways International is very pleased to be working with Virgin Blue Airlines and looks forward to a strong partnership aimed at building even greater tourism links between Australia and Thailand.”
Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “This will be a tremendous benefit to travellers and gives Virgin Blue a well-established partner airline to operate services to a new and hugely popular destination. We are delighted to be joining together with such a reputable and highly regarded airline as Thai Airways International and look forward to opening up other new global ports through our new friends at THAI.
Thai Airways International has been flying between Thailand and Australia for 36 years and is now flying non-stop 38 times a week from 4 on-line cities : Sydney (3 flights a day to Bangkok), Melbourne (double daily from 30 March 2008) Brisbane (daily) and Perth (5 times a week) with further expansion planned during 2008. Globally, THAI serves over 70 destinations in 35 countries on 5 continents. With over 1,000 flights each week in Asia alone, THAI is the largest carrier in the region. Unrivalled coverage to 12 major European gateways cities, over 40 destinations throughout Asia and the Middle-east, New Zealand, Johannesburg in South Africa and New York and Los Angeles in the USA.
THAI’s fleet upgrade will see an upgraded business and economy class product servicing all flights ex Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from 30 March, with the latest 2 x 2 capsule-style, lie-flat 163 degree recline seats in business class and personal in-seat entertainment for all passengers. Aircraft types : Boeing 777-200ER and Boeing 777-300 equipment.
The timeless tradition of gracious Thai hospitality is as much a hallmark of THAI as it is of the Kingdom of Thailand itself. All passengers a greeted with a warm ‘Sawasdee’ welcome as they step on board our aircraft. The same Royal Orchid Service is offered to all passengers, regardless of which class they choose to fly – Economy, Royal Silk Business or Royal First Class.
Bangkok’s new global gateway airport, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International makes arrivals and transfers for international and domestic travellers even easier. Koh Samui has recently been added as THAI’s 12th domestic destination with a double daily flight operation.
About Virgin Blue Airlines
Multi award winning airline Virgin Blue and international carriers Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue currently operate a fleet of 60 modern Boeing 737 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to 24 Australian and eight international destinations including New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands. Virgin Blue was the first airline in the world to launch a Government-certified carbon offset program, where Guests can offset the carbon emissions from their flights. Virgin Blue Group has also announced plans to launch Australia's newest international airline, V Australia, set to commence flights between Australia and the USA from late 2008, subject to regulatory approvals