Best Airline Australia Pacific
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24 October 2007: Brisbane, Australia: Virgin Blue Airlines today announced at its Annual General Meeting in Brisbane, its latest product innovation under its New World Carrier strategy with the introduction of its red leather Premium Economy seat.
The first three rows of the airline’s Boeing aircraft will be fitted with red leather Recaro seats and both the Boeing and EMBRAER aircraft will offer the new Premium Economy product.
The introduction of a domestic premium product is a key component of the airline’s New World Carrier strategy which is aimed at catering to the needs of contemporary business travellers.
Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, made the announcement and unveiled demonstration models of the premium seats to shareholders attending the AGM.
He said, “Over the past two years, the airline has evolved into a highly desirable business travel option with the introduction of, our Loyalty program “Velocity”, The Lounge at major airports, flexible fares and other business friendly initiatives.”
“We expect our latest product enhancement to appeal to amongst others, the corporate and Government sectors as it will offer superior value for money and additional benefits for those who choose to book economy and prefer a premium product.
He continued, “From an operations point of view, it’s a smart solution, a convertible cabin which allows us to easily adapt seating to demand.”
Virgin Blue’s Premium Economy seats can be easily converted to offer a maximum of 12 premier seats or Virgin Blue’s standard 3 x 3 seat configuration.
Premium Economy will feature:
2 x 2 seating versus current 3 x 3 seating on all Boeing aircraft
Comfortable leather seating with additional leg room through an increased seat pitch of at least 34 inches* as well as increased seat width, leading to significant gains in personal space and comfort. The middle seat on the Boeing effectively becomes a personal cocktail table for refreshments leaving the valuable window and aisle seats available for Premium Economy Guests (* A minor percentage of seats are at 33 inches and a much more significant proportion of seats are in excess of 34” seat pitch)
Priority Check-in (or web-check in & Kiosk Check-in for those who prefer the efficient means of checking themselves in)
Increased checked baggage allowance of 32 kg
Complimentary access to The Lounge facilities in primary ports of Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney
Fully Flexible and fully refundable fares.
Brett Godfrey continued, “We have always been responsive to the requirements of our increasing number of corporate Guests whether it be the re-introduction of Canberra-Sydney flights, a new Lounge concept or our frequent flyer program Velocity.
“Launching a premium offering is another example of Virgin Blue’s evolution to suit their needs and we are confident the introduction of Premium Economy will meet the changing needs of Australian business travellers.”
Premium Economy will be competitively priced in the market in line with other airline’s fully flexible economy class tickets.
Installation of the seats will begin this year, with the entire fleet fitted out in time for the official launch of Premium Economy in 2008.
Virgin Blue’s existing Blue Zone seating featuring additional leg room in the over wing emergency exits will remain, however row one will become a convertible seat option so will no longer be available as Blue Zone.
Multi award winning airline Virgin Blue and international carriers Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue currently operate a fleet of 55 modern Boeing 737 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to 22 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