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Boeing Strike forces V Australia delay


Virgin Blue Airlines Group announced today that an ongoing strike at The Boeing Company’s Seattle plant has forced a delay to the planned 15 December, 2008 launch of its long haul international airline V Australia.

The announcement comes after Boeing advised its customers including V Australia that it cannot predict the duration of the dispute and therefore cannot guarantee the delivery date of the airline’s launch aircraft.

The manufacturer has ceased to assemble aircraft at the Seattle plant since the strike commenced on 6 September, 2008 when 27,000 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers downed tools.

V Australia has three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in advanced stage production at the plant. The strike however has no bearing on services operated by Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue or Polynesian Blue.

In the continuing absence of a revised aircraft delivery schedule, Virgin Blue said it considered the only responsible course of action was to nominate a revised V Australia launch date of 28 February, 2009 to protect the interests of its Guests. V Australia’s Brisbane-Los Angeles direct services, due to launch on 1 March, 2009, are not affected.

Effective from today, V Australia will commence contacting all Guests booked to travel in the Christmas/New Year period from 15 December, 2008 to 16 January, 2009 to offer alternative arrangements.

The airline has also suspended further advance ticket sales for travel between 15 December, 2008 and 28 February, 2009 in case the Boeing strike, now in its fourth week, should be prolonged.

Virgin Blue said should the industrial dispute be resolved in the short term, the airline would move swiftly to bring forward V Australia’s start-up schedule. The company said the impact of the serious delay would be addressed between Virgin Blue and The Boeing Company at a later date.

V Australia said it appreciates the support of those Guests who have already booked on the new airline and whose travel will be unavoidably impacted by the Boeing strike. Accordingly the airline will honour its commitments and offer one of the following alternative arrangements to Guests booked to travel between 15 December, 2008 to 16 January, 2009:

·Guests who rebook on V Australia on or after 1 March, 2009 will be reaccommodated on their choice of flights.  As a gesture of goodwill we would also provide a $200 voucher for travel on Virgin Blue’s Australian network.

·A full refund, if our Guests prefer.

·An alternative flight on another airline, arranged at our expense, if our Guests prefer.