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Virgin Australia history

2018

  • Virgin Australia rolls out self-service check-in facilities at Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney Airports
  • Virgin Australia announces voice-controlled services for Amazon Alexa
  • Virgin Australia Regional Airlines becomes the first Australian charter operator to offer inflight entertainment on charter flights
  • Virgin Australia introduces world first pop-up check-in service at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal
  • Virgin Australia makes history with fashion Runway in the Sky
  • Virgin Australia launches services between Sydney and Hong Kong
  • Virgin Australia announces services between Brisbane and Alice Springs
  • Virgin Australia Group appoints Merren McArthur as Chief Executive Officer of Tigerair Australia
  • Virgin Australia ups its game on the Tasman, announcing a suite of changes to its trans-Tasman services, including two new routes and increased frequency into key markets
  • Virgin Australia becomes the only Australian airline to offer WiFi on flights to and from Los Angeles
  • Virgin Australia unveils new onboard offer and WiFi for all Trans-Tasman flights
  • Virgin Australia sets 50-50 gender target for pilot cadets
  • Virgin Australia becomes the first Australian airline to allow passenger comfort devices onboard
  • Virgin Australia successfully completes the first trial of sustainable aviation fuel in an Australian airport’s regular fuel supply system
  • Virgin Australia bans plastic straws and coffee stirrers onboard flights and in airport lounges
  • Virgin Australia Group CEO and Managing Director, John Borghetti, announces his resignation
  • Virgin Australia announces the launch of a new international lounge network in Australia and New Zealand, with seven international lounges to be rolled out in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and in Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer reaches 9 million members milestone
  • Virgin Australia announces it will launch seasonal fights between Darwin and Denpasar
  • Virgin Australia is awarded ‘Best Domestic Airline’ at the Australian Federation of Travel Agents National Travel Industry Awards
  • Virgin Australia is named ‘Inflight Airline of the Year’ at the Inflight Asia-Pacific Awards
  • Virgin Australia wins ‘Best Business Class’ at the Airline Ratings ‘Airline Excellence Awards
  • Virgin Australia is awarded a Five Star rating awarded by the Airline Passenger Experience Association
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer is recognised as ‘Program of the Year’ and ‘Best Elite Program’ with ‘Best Customer Service’ and ‘best Redemption Ability’ in the Middle East and Asia/Oceania region airline category at the prestigious Freddie Awards

2017

  • Virgin Australia announces flights to Hong Kong and landmark alliance agreement With HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer celebrates 7 million members with points giveaway bonanza
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer and Energy Australia partner to power and reward Australians
  • Virgin Australia launches flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong
  • Virgin Australia launches extra legroom seating product, Economy X, a unique product offering in the Australian aviation market
  • Virgin Australia partners with GoGo and Optus satellite to introduce inflight WiFi
  • Virgin Australia launches services between Melbourne and Los Angeles
  • Virgin Australia awarded 'Best for Onboard Beverages'
  • Virgin Australia introduces innovative vision impaired user interface for in-flight entertainment
  • Virgin Australia commences an inflight wireless internet connectivity trial
  • Virgin Australia introduces Perth - Canberra Services
  • Virgin Australia and Air Canada launch codeshare services
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer expands its world-class portfolio of earn and redemption partners, including forging important new partnerships with Flybuys, Energy Australia and Bupa
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer and Fortune Wings Club announce new benefits for Frequent Flyers
  • Virgin Australia unveils plans for comprehensive redevelopment of its domestic terminal at Melbourne Airport
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer reaches 8 million members milestone
  • Virgin Australia commences the rollout of inflight WiFi to its Boeing 737, Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 fleets
  • Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand boost Brisbane-Auckland services
  • Virgin Australia is awarded ‘Best Airline’ and ‘Best Airline Staff’ in the Australian/Pacific region at the World Airline Awards
  • Virgin Australia wins ‘Best Domestic Airline’ at the National Travel Industry awards
  • Virgin Australia is awarded ‘Best Business Class’ at the Airline Ratings ‘Airline of the Year’ awards

2016

  • Virgin Australia announces codeshare on Singapore Airlines’ new services between Canberra and Singapore
  • Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia announce partnership to investigate options for locally produced aviation biofuel
  • Virgin Australia announces a new codeshare agreement with Italy’s national carrier, Alitalia
  • Virgin Australia becomes the naming rights partner of V8 Supercars for the next five years and announces a new Supercars travel platform
  • Virgin Australia unveils its new International Business Class experience, ‘The Business’ on the first of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft
  • Virgin Australia launches a new product, Economy Space + designed to make travel more seamless and comfortable
  • Greening Australia and Virgin Australia join forces to launch a powerful new initiative to reduce soil erosion and help restore water quality on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
  • Virgin Australia announces plans to form a strategic commercial alliance with HNA Aviation
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer and BP Australia launch Pay with Points to enable BP customers to pay with Velocity Points at the point of sale
  • Virgin Australia announces plans to introduce inflight Wi-Fi on its Boeing 737-800, Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer launches Velocity Live, a new hub for live experiences and events
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer and Flybys announce a partnership to open up brand new travel opportunities for shoppers
  • Virgin Australia awarded best Business Class and best Cabin Crew by leading airline safety and product rating review agency, Airline Ratings
  • Virgin Australia launches new on board safety video featuring cabin crew taking on Supercars driver Jamie Whincup in a race around Australia’s famous Mt Panorama racetrack
  • Virgin Australia and trans-Tasman alliance partner Air New Zealand announce the introduction of night flights between Queenstown and Australia for the first time during the 2017 ski season
  • Virgin Australia announces plans for a codeshare agreement with Air Canada

2015

  • Virgin Australia begins Business Class for flights to Auckland as part of a progressive rollout in the New Zealand and Pacific Island markets
  • Darwin Lounge and Alice Springs Regional Lounges open
  • Appointment of new Virgin Australia Group Chairman Elizabeth Bryan
  • Announces long haul international cabin crew base, long haul international pilot base and dedicated East Coast charter operations base in Brisbane
  • Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia reach landmark agreement, providing a $50 million boost for Australian tourism
  • Major redesign of the Premium Economy cabin on the Boeing 777 fleet announced
  • Virgin Australia Cargo is launched, entering the domestic and short haul international cargo market in Australia
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer acquires leading data analytics business Torque Solutions (Australia) Pty Ltd
  • Virgin Australia Group completes the full acquisition of Tigerair Australia

2014

  • Virgin Australia is named Tourism Australia’s platinum airline partner of the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) 2014 event
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer reaches four million members
  • Virgin Australia unveils new Melbourne Lounge
  • Launches the ‘High Flyer Passport’ initiative aimed at Australia’s youngest flyers ages 10 and under
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer partner with Virgin Galactic unveils Space Class granting a world-first upgrade to space on the first commercial spaceline and certified astronaut status
  • New in-flight menus unveiled, designed by the Virgin Australia’s chef, Luke Mangan
  • Carbon offset program expanded with the launch of a partnership with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy
  • Announces appointment of three new non-Executive Directors to the board of Virgin Australia: Mr Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand; Mr James Hogan, Etihad Airways; and Mr Goh Choon Phong, Singapore Airlines
  • Launches new online check-in system accessible via smart phone, tablet or computer
  • Unveils new lounge menus across the domestic lounge network
  • Opens first Australian ‘Premium Exit’ from Melbourne Lounge
  • Announces the next evolution in the airline’s premium experience, unveiling a major redesign of the Business Class and Premium Economy cabins on the Boeing 777 fleet
  • Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia expand global marketing deal for 2015
  • Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines launch the world-first frequent flyer conversion initiative, enabling members of Velocity Frequent Flyer and KrisFlyer to convert Miles and Points between programs
  • Business Class goes on sale for Trans-Tasman and Pacific Island routes

2013

  • Becomes the Principal and Naming Rights Partner of the Melbourne Fashion Festival
  • Unveils first Virgin Australia lounge in Cairns
  • Launches new Sydney lounge with Melbourne Cup Carnival Hat Valet service
  • Becomes Co-Major Partner of the Greater Western Sydney Giants
  • SilkAir, the regional airline of Singapore Airlines, joins Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program
  • Becomes Official Airline Sponsor of 2013 Channel 7 Telethon
  • Announces new five-year agreement with the AFL, extending the partnership until 2018
  • Launches the first Asia Pacific wireless in-flight entertainment system across its domestic and short-haul international network
  • Becomes a Major Sponsor of Australia’s leading contemporary dance company, Sydney Dance Company
  • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reauthorises the trans-Tasman alliance between Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand until 31 October 2018.
  • Virgin Australia launches new codeshare and Frequent Flyer Agreement with airberlin of Germany
  • Invests in new and upgraded facilities in Darwin’s International Airport expansion
  • Virgin Australia, Brisbane Airport Corporation and the global market maker in sustainable jet fuel, SkyNRG, announce a feasibility study into the creation of Australia’s first “bio-port” at Brisbane Airport
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer unveils partnership with Visa for the Global Wallet™
  • Completes acquisition of Skywest Airlines Ltd
  • Introduces a single VA designator code and the Sabre booking and check-in system across its domestic and international networks
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer unveils Australia’s first and only airline loyalty program in Australia to provide Status Credits on Reward Seats

2012

  • Business Class is launched across the majority of Virgin Australia’s domestic network
  • Virgin Australia awarded ‘Best Airline’ and ‘Best Staff Service’ in the 2012 Skytrax World Airline Awards
  • ‘Mobile Boarding’ passes and First iPhone app are launched
  • First Virgin Australia lounge on the Gold Coast opens
  • Australian-first biodiesel trial in ground-service equipment conducted at Brisbane Domestic Airport
  • Contemporary design of new Airbus A330-200 are revealed
  • New cabin interiors for Boeing 777 are unveiled
  • Codeshare on select Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America services are launched
  • Virgin Australia begins flying in New Zealand (formerly Pacific Blue) and Virgin Samoa (formerly Polynesian Blue) takes-off in Samoa
  • Alliance with Singapore Airlines goes live
  • Inaugural Darwin-Sydney service is launched
  • Premium Valet at Brisbane Domestic Airport opens
  • New inflight entertainment plans are announced including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Lufthansa Systems’ Wi-Fi steaming technology
  • New partnership with Surf Life Saving Australia launched to promote surf safety

2011

  • V Australia launches new services between Sydney and Abu Dhabi
  • Implementation of comprehensive partnership with Etihad and Trans-Tasman alliance with Air New Zealand.
  • New uniforms designed by Juli Grbac are launched
  • Luke Mangan inspired new menu options are revealed
  • A330 Coast to Coast Business Class is announced and goes on sale
  • Australia's first Lounge Premium Entry and Premium Valet at Sydney Airport opens
  • Virgin Australia is announced as the company’s new name
  • New lounges open in Melbourne and Brisbane
  • Virgin Australia Airlines and Delta Air Lines received final approval for their trans-Pacific alliance
  • Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines signed a landmark agreement to establish a long-term alliance
  • Virgin Australia launches new Velocity frequent flyer program
  • ATR-72 aircraft enter into service on key regional routes
  • Virgin Australia Business Class goes on sale across the domestic network
  • Our international airlines, Pacific Blue and V Australia, adopt Virgin Australia brand

2010

  • Appointment of John Borghetti as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, effective May 8, 2010.
  • Virgin Blue became the first Australian airline to offer remote check-in via your mobile, called “Check-Mate!
  • Virgin Blue Group of Airlines and Air New Zealand seek regulatory approval to create a trans-Tasman alliance. (Final approval was received from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the New Zealand Ministry of Transport in December 2010.)
  • Virgin Blue awarded Best Low-Cost Airline (Australia/Pacific), in the 2010 Skytrax World Airline Awards - the fourth time Virgin Blue won the award, also winning it in 2002, 2004 and 2008.
  • New business strategy - the Game Change program – announced.
  • Comprehensive partnership with Etihad Airways announced, including plans for V Australia to commence flights between Sydney and Abu Dhabi in 2011.
  • Announced the introduction of a total of four Airbus A330-200 aircraft to the Virgin Blue fleet to operate Australian trans-continental routes. Two scheduled for delivery in May 2011 and two for early 2012.

2009

  • V Australia’s inaugural flight from Sydney to Los Angeles (February) and Brisbane to Los Angeles (April).
  • Virgin Blue lodged application with the US DoT and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to operate a Trans-Pacific joint venture with Delta Air Lines Inc. (The ACCC authorised the joint venture for five years on 10 December 2009. We await US DoT approval.)

2008

  • Launch of Virgin Blue’s Premium Economy product.
  • Toll divested its controlling stake in Virgin Blue Holdings, making Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group the largest single shareholder at that time, with 25.5 per cent.

2007

  • Plans to establish a long haul international airline, V Australia, announced.
  • Virgin Blue launched Australia’s first government-certified airline Carbon Offset Program.
  • Pacific Blue launched domestic services in New Zealand.

2006

  • Toll Holdings acquired Patrick Corporation and therefore took a controlling 63 per cent shareholding in Virgin Blue.

2005

  • Launch of Polynesian Blue in partnership with the Government of Samoa to launch. The first flight departed Auckland for Apia of 30 October.
  • Virgin Blue became first Australian airline to offer an online Web Check-In service.
  • Virgin Blue’s 50th aircraft went into service.
  • Launch of our loyalty program Velocity Rewards.
  • Patrick acquired a further 17 per cent of Virgin Blue for $346m, giving it a controlling 62.4 per cent stake in the company.

2004

  • Launch of Pacific Blue, a New Zealand-based leisure-focussed international airline offering flights between Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu.

2003

  • Launch of Virgin Blue’s holiday arm, Blue Holidays
  • Virgin Blue Holdings floated on the Australian Stock Exchange, December 2003.
  • Patrick Corporation invested a further $137m at the time of the Initial Public Offering.

2002

  • Nine new routes launched.
  • Patrick Corporation acquired a 50 per cent share in Virgin Blue Airlines.

2001

  • 14 new routes were launched, expanding to a true national domestic network.
  • We welcomed our millionth Guest onboard in June 2001.

2000

  • Virgin Blue’s first flight was DJ214 from Brisbane to Sydney on 31 August 2000.
  • The airline had one route, two aircraft, and a dedicated team of just 200 people.