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The Virgin Blue Group Announces Second Phase of Network Review
·Two Airbus A330-200* aircraft in May 2011
·Announcement with Etihad provides connections to Middle East, UK, Europe, Africa and Asia
·V Australia to exit Johannesburg and Phuket routes in February 2011
SYDNEY 26 AUGUST 2010: The Virgin Blue Group of Airlines announced today the second phase of its network review with the introduction of Airbus A330-200* aircraft for its domestic network and an overhaul of its international long haul network.
“This is a major step in our Game Changing Program that will enhance our domestic and international capability by providing wide body aircraft on the transcontinental routes and a gateway to a more comprehensive international long haul network through our new partnership with Etihad,” Virgin Blue Group Chief Executive Officer, John Borghetti, said.
Mr Borghetti said the introduction of the two Airbus A330-200* would increase the fleet size to 90 aircraft and provide additional flexibility, capacity and product opportunities to better penetrate both the leisure, corporate and government markets.
“The first A330-200s* will operate services between Perth and the east coast of Australia enabling Virgin Blue to grow available capacity, especially at peak times, extending the airline’s appeal to business travellers,” he said.
Mr Borghetti said the wide body services would provide Guests with an enhanced in-flight experience and a convenient schedule, connecting seamlessly with the Group’s other domestic and international services.
“The Airbus A330-200 will truly be a game changer. This aircraft type is perfect for growing our fleet and network capabilities,” he added.
International network expands
From February 2011, Virgin Blue will consolidate its international network to two strategic hubs in Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi providing a gateway to a truly international network through partnerships. This is part of the strategic partnership with Etihad also announced today which provides the Virgin Blue Group seamless access to the Middle East; United Kingdom; Europe; Africa and Asia.
“With strategic hubs in Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi we will provide an extensive global network to our corporate and leisure guests.”
V Australia will withdraw from its loss making Boeing 777-300 services to South Africa and Phuket.
“As a minor player on the African route the prospects of achieving a return are remote,” Mr Borghetti said.
“The Phuket service is also sub-optimal for our Boeing 777-300 given our configuration.”
*subject to regulatory approval