There’s more than ‘Australia’ to Virgin’s Wednesday

Branson LA Feb 09 szd.JPG

When Virgin Group chief executive Sir Richard Branson tomorrow morning steps off Airbus A330-200 VH-XFB at Sydney airport and declares that after 10 years, 8 months, and 4 days of the Virgin Blue operation it will be re-branded as Virgin Australia in a Virgin Atlantic-esque look, that will only be the start of the next round of changes as Virgin continues to move up-market.

Follow Wednesday’s news and updates on my Twitter feed (@winglets747) and with the hashtag #NewVirgin.

Much like the announcement possibilities this page listed before the carrier’s half-annual results in February, here are possibilities, in no particular order and which are beyond what John Borghetti has highlighted in his game change timeline (lounges, Velocity re-vamp and the like), of what you can expect over the next few months, with some changes being announced tomorrow:

  • An alliance with at least one Asian airline. Look for Virgin to eventually have a North Asian partner and a South Asian partner.
  • A new service to a major city in Asia. Hong Kong, the perennial favorite, is still talked up, as is Shanghai, but Virgin Atlantic has some strong words to say about its Australian sister flying to Hong Kong.

  • Additional Airbus A330 aircraft. More aircraft, fresh from Airbus, beyond the four alreayd announced (two former Emirates aircraft, two new ones). The fleet could also be announced as going overseas, notably to Asia (see above).
  • Additional Boeing 777 aircraft. V Australia will eventually need more. Is now the time? Don’t bank on anything but the -300ER variant.
  • A new domestic service and details of the narrowbody business class introduction. Look for an Air New Zealand-like tiered product and fare structure, as well as a mention of in-flight entertainment. Has Virgin solved its disagreements with Panasonic? Or might it forgo IFE in favour of wifi?

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2 Responses to There’s more than ‘Australia’ to Virgin’s Wednesday

  1. john b May 4, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Surely it’d make most sense for VA to codeshare with VS on SYD-HKG (I can’t see how regulators could justify rejecting it, given the assorted bigger deals they’ve approved in recent years)?

    Then the new flights could either go to Shanghai, or MEL-HKG (and possibly even codeshare with VS on HKG-LHR, to offer Kangaroo Route flights to MEL pax)?

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