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Virgin Blue And United Airlines Announce Code Share Agreement

05/06/2002

Sydney, 5 June, 2002 Travel between Australia and the US will soon become easier with the announcement of a code share agreement between domestic low fare airline, Virgin Blue and major international airline, United Airlines.


The code share agreement, announced today at the Sydney Express terminal, will mean a single United Airlines code for passengers flying on both airlines.


General Manager United Airlines Australia, Stephen Pearse, said the agreement, which will soon come into effect, would provide greater choice for Australians travelling to the US.


Both Virgin Blue and United Airlines are focused on giving customers the freedom of choice for air travel, which is what this code share agreement will do, Mr Pearse said.


This agreement means we are now able to offer customers access to all points in Australia with easy domestic connections and smoother transfers.


Passengers will benefit from United’s extensive US network and Virgin Blue’s broad Australian coverage.


Virgin Blue Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said the agreement is another step to ensure that every segment of the Australian market is not subject to a monopoly.


With this new service, Virgin Blue can address the needs of inbound tourism as well as Australian’s travelling abroad, without compromising the highly efficient and cost effective business model we operate, Mr Godfrey said.


Mr Pearse said the agreement would contribute to United’s overall plans to rebuild business in Australia.


We're excited to be entering into a code share agreement with one of Australia’s business success stories. Our business partnership is a good fit: we both focus on providing passengers with high levels of customer service and a friendly, reliable travelling experience, at a highly competitive price, Mr Pearse said.


Both United and Virgin Blue are leaders in our respective areas. United is the industry leader in Australia-US travel and is the only airline to provide daily services from Sydney to Los Angeles and San Francisco and from Melbourne via Sydney to both US cities, while Virgin Blue is Australia’s leading low fare airline.


Brett Godfrey said the agreement was part of Virgin Blue’s business expansion plans.


The Brisbane code-share is the first step in developing a world class international product. It’s all about fair competition and providing travellers with choice, which are the core values of Virgin Blue.


Initially, the Sydney-Brisbane route will be code shared, but both airlines will look at other opportunities.


Virgin Blue currently services every State and Territory in the country with its fleet of 17 aircraft, including the brand new Next Generation Boeing 737 aircraft, Virgin Blue was recently named best low fare airline Australasia” in the Skytrax Airline of The Year 2002 survey, the industry’s leading passenger survey.


United Airlines offers nearly 1,700 flights a day to 119 destinations in 26 countries and two US territories. United Airlines is a founding member of the Star Alliance, the first comprehensive global airlines network. United and its Star Alliance partners offer flights to 700 destinations in 124 countries.