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Virgin Blue Group creates global network with approval from the ACCC for Etihad and Air New Zealand alliances

16/12/2010

BRISBANE 16 DECEMBER, 2010: Virgin Blue Group of Airlines Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, John Borghetti, today welcomed separate decisions by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to approve the significant commercial partnerships with Etihad Airways and Air New Zealand.


Mr Borghetti said the decisions are great news for consumers and for Australian tourism as we build a second Australian international airline.


“We are extremely pleased that the way is now cleared for us to create a truly global airline that not only offers a great product and service but also greater frequencies and great value for money fares.” Mr. Borghetti said the approval of the partnerships is a key step in implementing the company’s strategy of building an international network with global coverage to complement Virgin Blue’s core domestic business.


“These are truly game-changing alliances. “


Etihad Partnership


“The Etihad partnership will see us establishing an international hub in Abu Dhabi. This will allow us to offer corporate and leisure travellers a very attractive one-stop alternative to more than 14 destinations in Europe, plus the Middle East and Africa without backtracking or going via Heathrow. Guests will also enjoy mutual frequent flyer earn and redemption capability and a global frequent flyer program.”


Virgin Blue Group’s partnership with Etihad Airways delivers a combined global network of more than 100 destinations worldwide. V Australia will commence direct services from Sydney to Abu Dhabi three times per week in February 2011 and three Brisbane-Abu Dhabi services per week by February 2012.


Trans-Tasman


Mr Borghetti said the ACCC’s approval of the alliance with Air New Zealand on the Trans-Tasman paves the way for Virgin Blue to provide a competitive offering to corporate as well as leisure travellers in the region. A Velocity member will have 3 times as many options to earn and burn across the Tasman under the alliance.”


The Trans-Tasman alliance covers three areas of cooperation


·A broad free-sale code share arrangement covering all Tasman sectors and domestic sectors forming part of a connecting Tasman journey.


·A revenue allocation agreement supported by a joint Trans-Tasman Network Planning and Revenue Management Team.


·A reciprocal frequent flyer and lounge access agreement.


The Virgin Blue Group of Airlines currently operates 70 flights each week from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns to the New Zealand cities of Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton and Wellington and seasonal flights from Sydney to Queenstown on its fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. These services represent over 25000 seats each week.