This marketing image was frequently used at the time of V Australia's launch in February 2009 to promote closeness between the two carriers, but cooperation should no be expected between the two if V Australia enters the Australia-Hong Kong market. Photo: James Morgan/Virgin Blue.
Virgin Atlantic will not warmly welcome V Australia if the Virgin Blue long-haul subsidiary enters the Australia-Hong Kong market, the British carrier's director of sales and marketing Paul Dickinson says in Sydney.
"We would see them as competition," Dickinson says. "We've got very loyal customers. We've built up our own business here to be our third biggest market."
Although no announcement has been made of V Australia entering the Australia-Hong Kong market, the carrier two years ago filed for slots at Chek Lap Kok airport and sources familiar with the situation say the carrier is interested in Hong Kong, amongst other destinations.
There have been suggestions V Australia could replace Virgin Atlantic on the British carrier's daily Hong Kong-Sydney sector of its Heathrow service, but Dickinson says that is not happening and Virgin Atlantic will stay in Sydney.
V Australia is expected to announce in the short-term a service to a major Asian city. If--if--the carrier selects Hong Kong, cooperation could not take place in the current regulatory environment between the two sister airlines, which Sir Richard Branson has a stake in.
"They're a separate entity," Dickinson says of V Australia. "By law we would have to be competing."