Third time luck for Virgin Blue

V australia.jpgThere must have been a big sigh of relief in Virgin Blue’s Brisbane headquarters at today’s decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to give its nod for an alliance with Etihad Airways.

Last month, the ACCC rejected Virgin Blue’s application for a trans-Tasman alliance with Air New Zealand. Earlier in September, the US Department of Transport denied an application by Virgin Blue and Delta Air Lines to form a trans-Pacific alliance – which the ACCC had approved. Virgin Blue is appealing both decisions.

Regardless, today’s announcement is significant for V Australia, Virgin Blue’s long-haul subsidiary. It needs the connections that Etihad offers in order to offer its customers greater options, and this ties in with Virgin Blue’s new strategy for the airline.

Qantas Airways, Australia’s flag carrier, is likely to continue objecting to the Virgin Blue-Etihad tie-up. However, it remains highly unlikely that the ACCC will rescind its decision, and the increased competition will only offer greater options for the Australian consumer.

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