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PBI-2011-05-VIRGIN AUSTRALIA A330
Formed in 2003 and started operations in 2004. Formerly "Pacific Blue." Scheduled and charter, domestic, regional & international, passenger & cargo, jet airplane services.
PO Box 14-212, Building 1
1 12 Orchid Road
Christchurch International Airport
8030, Christchurch, New Zealand
NEW ZEALAND (DOMINION OF NEW ZEALAND) WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1907, IT COVERS AN AREA OF 270,986 SQ KM, ITS POPULATION IS 3.7 MILLION, ITS CAPITAL CITY IS WELLINGTON, AND ITS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS ENGLISH.
September 2003: New trans-Tasman operation called Pacific Blue (PBI), a subsidiary of Virgin Blue (VOZ), based in Christchurch, New Zealand, with 737-800's to its Brisbane hub starting February 2004. Plans to begin a New Zealand domestic operation in 2004. (VOZ) is taking on 200 employees for its New Zealand operations.
737-8FE (1377-33796, VH-VOO "Bonnie Blue") is first airplane in "Pacific Blue" titles instead of "Virgin Blue."
October 2003: 2 737-8FE's (1389-33797, VH-VOP "Whitney Sundays;" 1391-33798, VH-VOQ "Peta Pan"), both painted in Pacific Blue (PBI) titles.
November 2003: Appoints Tony Marks, CEO, ex-Air New Zealand & CEO of Origin Pacific Airways, New Zealand. Will employ 200 in its start up phase and has brought its launch forward to January 2004, with Christchurch - Brisbane followed by Melbourne - Christchurch in March 2004. (PBI) has rights to fly to Fiji and Vanuatu. (PBI) applies to International Air Services Commission (IASC) for service to New Caledonia.
January 2004: Wellington and Christchurch to Sydney.
Virgin Blue (VOZ) transfers 737-8FE (33796) to Pacific Blue (PBI) operations.
February 2004: In August 2004, Australia - Nadi (Fiji) (6/week).
April 2004: In preparation for Pacific Blue (PBI) transTasman flights, will use Runway from (SITA) Information Networking Computing to connect to Australian Government systems.
May 2004: Australia - Vanuatu (2/week).
June 2004: In September 2004, Brisbane - Nadi (3/week); - Port Vila (weekly). Melbourne - Nadi (3/week); - Port Vila (weekly). Has applied for service to Raratonga.
September 2004: Receives OK for flights, Brisbane to Noumea.
November 2004: Wellington - Brisbane (2/week); Christchurch - Gold Coast (Coolangatta) (2/week). In March 2005, Sydney - Christchurch - Raratonga (weekly).
February 2005: In May 2005, Brisbane - Auckland (4/week) & Gold Coast - Auckland (2/week).
March 2005: In June 2005, Sydney - Nadi (4/week).
April 2005: In May 2005, will begin to offer passengers APS digEplayers on flights between Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. Each airplane will be equipped with 60 of these portable on-demand entertainment players which initially can be rented for A$12/$9.
October 2005: Pacific Blue (PBI) will launch a 3X weekly service to Tonga from Sydney and Auckland on October 31.
737-8FE (33799, ZK-PBF), wet-leased to Polynesian Blue (PLY).
April 2006: The on-again-off-again relationship between Air New Zealand (ANZ) and Qantas (QAN) is back on, with the carriers announcing a comprehensive code share agreement for their routes across the Tasman Sea. Both airlines will file shortly seeking authorization from the New Zealand Minister of Transport and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Regulatory approval is expected to take approximately six months. The agreement replaces the more ambitious equity tie-up that ran foul of competition regulators in both countries in 2003. Since then, Emirates Airlines (EAD) has entered the market, along with Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) Pacific Blue (PBI) and Qantas (QAN) (LCC) subsidiary Jetstar (IMU). Both (IMU) and (ANZ) low-fare offshoot Freedom Air (SPT) are taking a larger slice of the market, leaving the premium parent carriers seeking ways to consolidate. "This commercial agreement enables us to maintain network presence while realigning some of the current surplus capacity on the Tasman," (QAN) CEO, Geoff Dixon said. "We plan to develop a combined schedule that allows us both to better utilize airplanes and save costs." (ANZ) currently operates 134 trans-Tasman flights per week while (QAN) has 84. There are eight airlines vying for the 5.4 million passengers flying across the Tasman and market load factor declined from 75% LF to 70% LF between 2003 and 2005. At the same time, capacity grew +39% (ASK), but passenger growth lagged at -31%. Under terms of the code share, (QAN) will cease to be a holder of Redeemable Convertible Notes in (ANZ). (QAN) owns NZ$98 million/$59.7 million of the notes, accounting for 4.2% of (ANZ)'s share register if converted to ordinary shares. The holding was approved by the New Zealand government as the first step in the equity alliance proposed in 2003. (ANZ) will convert the note to debt and repay (QAN) over four years as part of the negotiated transaction.
April 2006: The Australian airline landscape is set for some dramatic changes after the country's dominant port operator, Patrick Corporation, which has a 62.4% stake in Virgin Blue (VOZ), accepted a A$6.20 billion/$4.52 billion takeover bid from Australia's Toll Holdings. The deal ends an 18-month battle and could lead to a reshaping of the major operators' ownership structure and strategies. Richard Branson's Virgin Group (VAA) founded Virgin Blue (VOZ) in 1999 and has a 25.6% stake in the airline, with the balance in public hands. It sold a 50% stake to Patrick in 2002 for $260 million, but the relationship soured after the airline floated in December 2003.
Branson has expressed a strong desire to buy back a controlling stake, while (VOZ)'s management plans to launch services to the USA under its international Pacific Blue (PBI) brand. That brand name is a legacy of Singapore Airlines (SIA)'s £600 million/$1.05 billion 49% equity buy of Virgin Atlantic (VAA) in December 1999, which stipulated that the Virgin name was not to be used by any Australia-based operation in the international arena.
Toll is interested in selling down the (VOZ) stake and discussions are expected shortly between Toll and Branson, while the Singapore government investment arm and biggest (SIA) stakeholder, Temasek is rumored to be interested in taking a stake in (PBI). Temasek recently dumped its 3% share in Qantas (QAN) after the Australian government rejected (SIA)'s annual bid to gain access to the Australia - USA market. Analysts suggest that Temasek may team up with Branson to gain a controlling stake in (VOZ), with the Virgin Group (VAA) holding 40% and Temasek 49%.
Then, the scenario becomes fascinating, with analysts in Singapore and Australia hinting that the (VOZ) product could be realigned by adding a business class, with (SIA) code sharing on domestic routes. (SIA) also would codeshare on Pacific routes if (PBI) is successful, as expected, in getting permission to serve the USA. Under that arrangement, it is anticipated that (SIA) would drop the clause preventing use of the Virgin name, thus simplifying the branding.
The international arm of (VOZ), however, would be subject to Australia's foreign ownership restrictions. No more than 25% of a carrier can be owned by an individual foreign airline and no more than 35% by all foreign airlines, while foreign ownership is capped at 49%.
Services to the USA probably would be launched with 747s leased from (SIA), swapping to 777s once operational experience allowed Extended Range Twin-engine Operations (ETOPS) benefits.
August 2007: Pacific Blue (PBI), the international arm of Australia's Virgin Blue (VOZ), will launch domestic services in New Zealand on November 15. Initially, the carrier will dedicate two 737-800s to flights between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. It announced promotional fares from NZ$39/$27.17, while normal fares will be equal to or above those of Air New Zealand (ANZ), according to (ANZ) General Manager Short-Haul Airlines, Norm Thompson. (ANZ) is expected to announce a further refinement of its domestic product at its August 28 annual result conference. New Zealanders enjoy consistently low fares, often starting from NZ$59 on major trunk flights between Christchurch and Wellington.
October 2007: Qantas (QAN) is matching Air New Zealand (ANZ)'s recent product initiatives, turning up the competitive heat in the NZ domestic market. Next month, (QAN) will introduce its successful Australian domestic "Cityflyer" product across the Tasman. Cityflyer provides passengers free beer and wine from 4 pm (noon in Australia), free newspapers, and an enhanced food offering. (QAN) also announced the addition of online check-in, "QuickCheck" self-serve kiosks, and a A$3 million/$2.7 million upgrade to its lounges in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington.
Meanwhile, (QAN) is adding a fifth 737 to its New Zealand operation. In August, Pacific Blue (PBI), the international arm of Australia's Virgin Blue (VOZ), said it will launch domestic services in NZ on November 15. (PBI) initially will use two 737-800s between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. New Zealanders enjoy consistently low fares, often starting from NZ$59/$45 on major trunk flights between Christchurch and Wellington, and (ANZ) has a daily "Grabaseat" product, that sells off spare seats from NZ$6.
(PBI) will bring forward the launch of its New Zealand domestic service by three days to November 12. Tickets went on sale for flights between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
737-8BK (29675, VH-VUM), CIT Group (TCI) leased to (VOZ) for (PBI) operations.
November 2007: 737-8BK (29676, VH-VUN), delivery for Pacific Blue (PBI) operations.
June 2008: Pacific Blue (PBI) is a low-fare, high quality leisure jet airplane services within New Zealand, and to Fiji, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, and Tonga. (PBI) also operates services between Samoa and Australia and New Zealand, on behalf Polynesian Blue (PLY), a joint venture between the government of Samoa and Virgin Blue (VOZ).
Parent organization/shareholders: Virgin Blue (VOZ) (100%).
(IATA) Code: DJ. (ICAO) Code: PBI (Callsign - BLUEBIRD).
Main Base: Christchurch International Airport (CHC).
Hub: Auckland International Airport (AKL).
Destinations: Australia: Adelaide; Albury; Broome; Brisbane; Ballina/Byron Bay; Cairns; Canberra; Coffs Coast; Darwin; Fraser Coast (Hervey Bay); Gold Coast; Hamilton Island; Hobart; Kalgoorlie; Karratha; Kunurra; Launceston; Mackay; Melbourne; Mildura; Newcastle; Newman; Perth; Port Macquarie; Rockhampton; Sunshine Coast; Sysdney; Townsville; & Whitsundays. New Zealand: Auckland; Christchurch; Dunedin; Wellington. Pacific Islands: Apia (Samoa); Nadi (Fiji); Nuku'Alofa (Tonga); Port Vila (Vanuatu); Raratonga (Cook Islands); & Honiara (Solomon Islands). Papua New Guinea: Port Moresby. Indonesia: Denpasar (Bali).
August 2008: (GE) Aviation (GEC) won a six-year OnPoint solution contract from Virgin Blue (VOZ) covering Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) services on (CFM56-7B)s operated by (VOZ) and its Pacific Blue (PBI) subsidiary. The contract is valued at $300 million.
Next month, Melbourne - Auckland.
737-8FE (36605, ZK-PBL), (VOZ) wet-leased.
September 2008: Pacific Blue Airlines (PBI) announced a major drive into Asia with plans to launch 11 weekly flights from Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth to Denpasar. The new services will start from December 1 and will be the first to link Adelaide and Brisbane directly with the provincial capital of Bali, a popular tourist destination for Australians. (PBI) currently operates 62 weekly international flights from Australia's east coast to New Zealand and the South Pacific.
November 2008: Pacific Blue (PBI) launched four-times-weekly, Brisbane - Port Moresby aboard 737-800s. Airlines (PNG) is code sharing on the route.
May 2009: EMB-190-100 IGW (00262, VH-ZPM "Emma-Braer" - - SEE PHOTO - - "PBI-EMB-190-2009-05"), delivery to Virgin Blue (VOZ) for Pacific Blue (PBI) operations.
June 2009: Pacific Blue (PBI) will introduce twice-weekly, Queenstown - Sydney and thrice-weekly, Wellington - Sydney and Dunedin - Brisbane flights on September 1.
August 2009: Australia and New Zealand are expected to move toward common air travel borders this month, cutting red tape and airfares.
New Zealand Prime Minister, John Keys and Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd are expected to announce the streamlining of arrivals and departures that may see trans-Tasman flights operating from domestic terminals and elimination of departure taxes and duplication of quarantine, customs and security checks.
The changes are expected to boost tourism between the two countries, which already see approximately 1 million visitors cross the Tasman each year in both directions. Under the proposals, passengers leaving Australia for New Zealand would not pay the A$47/$39.10 passenger movement charge and the countries would recognize each other's security, immigration and quarantine checks in a similar way to members of the European Union (EU).
Jetstar Airways (IMU) CEO, Bruce Buchanan said previously that common border arrangements could reduce fares by at least -30% on services from the east coast of Australia to New Zealand, where taxes and charges make up a large part of the fare. Tourism Australia, however, suggests a -20% reduction is more likely.
It is understood that passports still will be required and passengers will make a one-stop customs and immigration check at the departing airport in a similar way to the USA/Canada arrangement implemented six years ago.
September 2009: Qantas (QAN) is considering selling its 46.3% in Air Pacific (APC), Fiji's national carrier, in order to compete with the Virgin Group on routes to the tropical tourist destination. (QAN) applied to Australia's International Air Services Commission, the route regulator, for capacity to Fiji on behalf of its Jetstar Airways (IMU) subsidiary, but it would need to sell off its stake in (APC). An airline spokesperson confirmed that the (APC) stake was under review and it is understood that the Fijian government is amenable to the sale. (QAN) apparently has disappointed its partners by vetoing decisions that Fijians say would have helped the airline.
(QAN) wants to launch Jetstar (IMU) on the route next year, starting with Sydney - Fiji in April. Pacific Blue (PBI), Virgin (VAA)'s international arm in the region, started flying to Fiji from Brisbane in 2004 and since has started services from Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. Virgin (VAA) has applied for an additional +1,260 seats for those routes and hopes to introduce its V Australia (VAZ) 777-300ERs. (QAN) has applied for 1,500 seats per week and the (IASC) has asked both airlines to justify the extra capacity. (QAN) plans to code share with both Jetstar (IMU) and Air Pacific (APC).
November 2009: Virgin Blue (VOZ)’s lower-cost Pacific Blue (PBI) unit is now flying 737-800s from Perth to Phuket, Thailand, twice weekly, joining existing Perth flights to Bali in Indonesia. Next month, (VOZ)’s long haul unit V Australia (VAZ) will launch Phuket service from Brisbane and Melbourne.
January 2010: Pacific Blue (PBI) will launch twice-weekly, Cairns - Auckland service in March aboard a 737-800.
February 2010: Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) and Virgin Blue (VOZ) signed a three-year exclusive agreement "on an innovative repair procedure" for (CFM56-7B) engines powering 737NGs operated by the carrier and its Pacific Blue (PBI) and Polynesian Blue (PLY) entities. All repair work will be carried out by (LTK)'s Airline Support Teams based at its Melbourne subsidiary (LTQ) Engineering, a joint venture between (LTK) and Qantas (QAN). According to (LTK), the agreement covers inspection and replacement of variable stator vane bushings.
The Virgin Blue Airlines Group, which comprises Virgin Blue (VOZ), Pacific Blue (PBI) and V Australia (VAZ), signed an in-principle agreement to buy 50 737s after recording a net profit of +A$62.5 million/+$56.1 million in the fiscal first half ended December 31, 2009, reversed from a -A$101.4 million loss in the year-ago period.
CEO, Brett Godfrey said that the company also will upgrade its premium economy product and introduce a new "economy Lite" class on its 737s with less legroom in an effort to compete with Jetstar Airways (IMU) and Tiger Airways (TGR).
According to (VOZ), deliveries of the 737s start from 2011 and run for seven years, but Boeing (TBC) said only that "we look forward to working with Virgin Blue (VOZ) to finalize the order."
Godfrey told media that while favorable fuel prices certainly contributed to the result, the company posted a -4.5% decrease in (CASK) excluding fuel through cost-saving initiatives and enhanced productivity across the network. "Any way you cut it, to continue to achieve cost reductions while we continue to grow our business and position it to rapidly and fully exploit any improvement in economic conditions demonstrates . . . the resilience of our model," he said. But he cautioned that the operating environment is "still uncertain" and concerns remain around the pace of the global economic recovery. Still, the company plans to expand.
Virgin Blue (VOZ)'s half-year revenue rose +12% to A$1.51 billion. Operating expenses were up +4.5% to A$1.41 billion and yield improved +11.4% to A11.72 cents. The short-haul operation's pre-tax profit was A$108 million, up +126% year-over-year, while V Australia (VAZ) delivered a pre-tax loss of -A$39 million, reflecting the difficult long-haul environment and start-up costs. On short-haul operations, traffic (RPK)s lifted +5.7% to 11.2 billion and capacity increased +6.1% to 14 billion (ASK)s, reducing load factor -0.1 point to 80.1% LF. V Australia posted 2 billion RPKs, 2.4 billion ASKs and a load factor of 81.1% LF.
Going forward, (VOZ) said V Australia (VAZ) will be profitable later this year in line with original guidance. The group estimates pre-tax profit (excluding ineffective cash flow hedges and non-designated derivatives) for the full fiscal year will be +A$80 to +A$110 million.
March 2010: Pacific Blue (PBI) launched twice-weekly, Cairns - Auckland service using 737-800s.
737-8FE (36605, ZK-PBL), Vigin Blue (VOZ) leased, ex-(VH-VUQ).
August 2010: Pacific Blue (PBI) increased five-times-weekly, Melbourne - Denpasar services to daily, and will increase four-times-weekly, Melbourne - Christchurch services to daily on October 31, twice-weekly Perth - Phuket service to thrice-weekly, August 19 and thrice-weekly, Brisbane - Dunedin service to four-times-weekly, September 17.
Up to four new Indonesian airlines are expected to be given rights to fly from Indonesia to Australia after the two countries announced an increase of almost +50% in the weekly capacity to 14,800 seats. Indonesian carrier Batavia Air (BTV) announced it had been given rights to fly from Bali to Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney, while applications from Sriwijaya Air, Mandala Airlines (MND) and Lion Air (MLI) are pending.
Australian-based Pacific Blue (PBI), Jetstar (IMU) and Strategic Airlines (STC) - - along with AirAsia Indonesia (AWR) and Garuda (GIA) - - already operate on the principal routes leading some analysts to suggest that too many airlines were being allowed to service the market. However, that market is growing at an unprecedented rate. Travel from Perth to Bali jumped +46% in 2009 with 463,352 passengers carried both ways and early figures point to another +50% increase this year.
February 2011: Air New Zealand (ANZ) will run a special 747 flight from Auckland to Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand, which was devastated by an earthquake. (ANZ) is charging just NZ$50/$35 a seat and said that fare also applies to any service to and from Christchurch from any point in New Zealand to enable support staff and relatives to get in and people to be evacuated.
All airline services to Christchurch were suspended after the magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit at 12:51 pm local time. The event took out New Zealand’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar, which forced a 2-hour halt on all departures to and from the country.
Christchurch-based, (ANZ) CEO, Rob Fyfe advised New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key and Christchurch Mayor, Bob Parker that the airline’s full resources are available to assist in the tragedy, for which the death toll stands at 75 as of press time, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Qantas (QAN), Pacific Blue (PBI), and Jetstar (IMU) are reviewing their operations to Christchurch and are expected to resume services.
May 2011: Virgin Blue (VOZ) and its associate airlines: — V Australia (VAZ) and Pacific Blue (PBI) — have been re-branded as "Virgin Australia" (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) after Singapore Airlines (SIA), 49% owner of Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA), reached an agreement with Virgin Group Chairman, Richard Branson regarding the use of the Virgin name on international services to/from Australia. SEE ATTACHED PHOTO - - "(PBI)-2011-05-VIRGIN AUSTRALIA A330."
At the re-branding announcement in Sydney, Branson promised to revolutionize air travel in Australia with the new look, just as he did 10 years ago when Virgin Blue (VOZ) effectively put Ansett (ANS) out of business with its low fares. But this time his sights, and those of Virgin Australia (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) CEO, John Borghetti, are squarely set on Qantas (QAN) and its corporate clients. Virgin Australia (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) is being pitched as an upmarket product.
"I'm absolutely thrilled with the new look and feel of Virgin Australia (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI)'s domestic product and I know it will shake up the Australian travel market on an even larger scale than it did 10 years ago," Branson said. The new makeover, both exterior and interior, is styled after Virgin America (VUS), which has won a string of awards for its zany approach and product, including the Air Transport World (ATW) 2011 "Passenger Service" award.
Branson said that the new "brand, livery, product and service offering will help to transform Virgin Australia (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) into a contemporary dynamic airline with a product to compete with the best."
Cornerstone of the revamp will be using the A330 for transcontinental routes fitted with 27C business-class seats. Additionally, 8C business-class seats will be installed on the airline's fleet of 737-700s/800s.
The first two airplanes sporting the new livery — a 737-800 and an A330 — touched down in Sydney. Borghetti said the consolidation of the brand into one was a pivotal point in the airline’s "game change program." "Virgin Australia (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) will be the airline of choice for all market segments. We will do this by bringing the magic back to flying," said Borghetti. "We have kept all the great attributes for which Virgin Blue (VOZ) is renowned: The 'can-do' attitude, the competitive pricing and the genuine friendly service. And we have elevated it to a new level."
As part of the deal to buy 49% of Virgin Atlantic (VAA) in 2000, (SIA) was given a veto on the use of the "Virgin" brand in the Asia/Pacific region outside of Australia, forcing Virgin Blue (VOZ) to brand its international operations Pacific Blue (PBI) for regional services and V Australia (VAZ) for long-haul operations. Analysts are speculating that Virgin Australia (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) will now form an alliance with Singapore Airlines (SIA) to fast track Southeast Asia services.
The Virgin Blue Group will expand its code share agreement with Delta Air Lines (DAL) to include more destinations in the USA and within Australia and New Zealand. This will allow Virgin Australia (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) passengers to connect from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Detroit, as well as the current New York and Orlando. (DAL) will code share on flights from Sydney to Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Auckland, and Christchurch.
Reversing its previous stance, the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively approved antitrust immunity (ATI) for Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Virgin Australia (VOZ)/(VAZ)/PBI to coordinate services between the USA and Australia.
The proposed transpacific alliance between (DAL) and (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI), formerly the Virgin Blue Group, received approval from the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in December 2009 but the (DOT) tentatively rejected (ATI) last September. The (DOT) said that "(DAL) and its partners had made substantial changes from their previous application, addressing concerns that immunity would provide only limited benefit to consumers."
The tentative ruling is open to formal objections for two weeks, after which the (DOT) can finalize (ATI). The Australian government had pushed the (DOT) to reverse its tentative rejection. "Antitrust immunity (ATI) will enable (DAL) and Virgin Australia Airlines (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) to provide a seamless product to customers and more options for travel between the USA and the South Pacific," (DAL) said in a statement. "The airlines will collaborate through code sharing, coordinating route and product planning and extending frequent flyer program benefits and lounge access to customers of both carriers."
It added, "The alliance will create a comprehensive, fully integrated network able to serve thousands of city-pairs in North America and the South Pacific. (DAL) alone serves a single point in Australia, Sydney, and Virgin Australia's international airline, V Australia (VAZ), flies only to Los Angeles. The antitrust immunized (ATI) alliance will allow the airlines to fully cooperate on network planning and distribution."
(VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) CEO, John Borghetti stated, "The (DAL) alliance is a key plank in (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI)'s strategy to build an international network of airline partners that offers global coverage."
The (DOT) noted that in the revised (ATI) application, (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) "expanded the scope of the alliance to include service to more passengers. It also said that it had completed an upgrade of its reservation system to ensure compatibility with Delta (DAL)'s system, providing consumers with a more seamless travel network. In addition, the carriers said they would serve more cities and offer more capacity at the start of their alliance than they originally proposed, providing more benefits to consumers at the outset."
Air New Zealand (ANZ) and Virgin Australia Airlines (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) said they will revamp their networks across the Tasman Sea linking Australia and New Zealand as part of their alliance, which was approved in December. The alliance connects (ANZ)’s domestic network of 26 cities to (VOZ)’s domestic network of 31 domestic destinations, offering the largest Australasian route network for transtasman travelers.
The new network will be effective for the upcoming northern winter 2011 schedule and tickets will be on sale from July when the code share commences. Under the new network, (ANZ) will operate approximately 70% of capacity and (VOZ)/(VAZ)/(PBI) will operate 30%, reflecting the market share the airlines had prior to the alliance. The integration will see significant adjustment and harmonization of flights to ensure more convenient schedules for passengers.
(ANZ) Group General Manager Australasia Airline, Bruce Parton said that since the airlines had received regulatory approvals in December, dedicated teams from both airlines had worked to optimize the networks. “The changes better match capacity to demand and in many instances this means a greater range of flight times by removing wingtip flying, as well as better connections to domestic Australia and domestic New Zealand flights,” said Parton, noting, “As indicated last year, we are actively looking at a couple of potential new transTasman routes, which we will likely make a decision on before the end of the year.”
August 2011: Virgin Australia (VOZ) posted a loss of -A$66.6 million/-$69.75 million for its fiscal year ended June 30 compared to a profit of +A$21.3 million in the year-ago period. (VOZ) blamed natural disasters in its home state of Queensland, the radical revamp of its product and the introduction of new airplanes for the loss.
Virgin Blue (VOZ) and its associate airlines (V Australia (VAZ) and Pacific Blue (PBI)) were re-branded as "Virgin Australia" in May.
More than >50% of (VOZ)’s domestic operations are to/from or within Queensland, which was devastated by floods from late December through January and cyclone Yasi. The result also includes an A$36 million in unrealized foreign exchange loss due to the rising Australian dollar. “The financial year 2011 was a year of enormous challenge and significant change as we began repositioning the company to ensure a more stable financial future. These financial results reflect the impact of an unprecedented series of external events and reinforce the importance of our game change program strategy to increase our share of the more resilient corporate and government markets” CEO, John Borghetti said.
Since (VOZ) relaunched its brand, product and fares in May, yield in June increased +4.3%.
Revenue was up +9.7% to A$3.27 billion. Capacity (ASK)s rose +8.8% to 37.1 billion and traffic (RPK)s were 29.6 billion, up +10%. Load factor eased fractionally to 79.7% LF.
December 2011: The Virgin Australia group launched its international airlines V Australia and Pacific Blue under the new brand, Virgin Australia (VOZ). Establishing one brand and identity for (VOZ)’s domestic and international operations is a key part of the company’s game change program strategy and follows an agreement with Singapore Airlines (SIA), which is a 49% stakeholder in Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA).
When (SIA) acquired the stake in 2000, one of the conditions was that (VOZ) could not use the Virgin name outside Australia.
(VOZ) (CEO), John Borghetti said that having both the domestic and international airlines operating under the Virgin (VOZ) brand was one of the company’s most significant achievements this year.
“The Virgin Australia (VOZ) name enables us to tap into the huge power of the Virgin brand around the world (a brand that signifies style, innovation, quality, value for money and the best service)” he said.
Now that the international airlines are all operating under the Virgin brand, Borghetti said its focus is on redesigning the product in the air to “ensure a first-rate travel experience across all of our airlines.” (VOZ) will reveal the new designs in the first half of 2012, he said.
The company’s trading name has also been changed from Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd to Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd.
May 2013: Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) move to nearly double its holding in Virgin Australia (PBI)/(VOZ) to 19.9% reinforces the (SIA) Group’s new strategy of focusing more on Asia-Pacific, including the Australian market. The recent purchase of an additional 9.9% stake in Virgin Australia (PBI)/(VOZ) from founding shareholder, the Virgin Group also dilutes the presence of (SIA) rival Etihad (EHD), which now owns about a 9% stake in Virgin Australia (PBI)/(VOZ).
Although equity is not the main driver, the increased stake could give the (SIA) Group an edge as it looks to further deepen its code share partnership with Virgin Australia (PBI)/(VOZ), particularly in the key Australia - Europe market.
Independent Virgin Australia (PBI)/(VOZ) has quickly emerged as (SIA)’s most significant partner in the two years since the two airline groups first forged a code share agreement, a further testament to the waning importance of global alliances. (SIA), which is a longstanding member of the Star (SAL) Alliance but has traditionally taken a passive role in the alliance, is keen to embed its relationship with Virgin Australia (PBI)/(VOZ) as other current and prospective partners circle.
(PBI)/(VOZ) inaugurated services on the 300 km route from Brisbane (BNE) to Bundaberg (BDB), which is also located in Queensland. Beginning on May 4th, (PBI)/(VOZ) offers daily flights, which it operates using ATR72s. Competition comes from Qantas (QAN), which flies the route with 27 weekly frequencies. Merren McArthur, (PBI)/(VOZ)’s Alliances, Network & Yield Group Executive, said: “Bundaberg has been a monopoly market for over >10 years and the local community and tourism operators have told us that they would welcome competition in the region. The midday flight is convenient for holiday makers and business travellers, as there are 11 domestic and international connections within three hours of the flight landing in Brisbane.”
NOTE: FOR FUTURE UPDATES SEE VOZ - VIRGIN AUSTRALIA.