IATA: SIA and Virgin Australia to form alliance

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Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia have signed an agreement paving the way to a long-term alliance.

The agreement is subject to regulatory approval. It will allow the carriers to coordinate schedules between Singapore and Australia and beyond as well as codeshare on each other's international and domestic flights. In addition, it will allow them to offer reciprocal frequent flyer programme benefits and lounge access, engage in joint sales, marketing and distribution activities.

The airlines said that through the alliance Virgin Australia customers will have access to over 70 more destinations via SIA's network. SIA passengers will have access to 30 more destinations via Virgin Australia.

"The two airlines will lodge an application with the relevant regulatory authorities to enable them to co-operate across a broad range of commercial functions," said the carriers, which hope the deal is approved by end-2011. "Approval will allow the airlines to build a deep and integrated alliance with seamless service offerings to the travelling public."

As part of the agreement, from 1 August the carriers have agreed that SIA customers will be able to interline on Virgin Australia's domestic network. Virgin Australia Velocity Gold members and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold members will also have reciprocal access to each airline's airport lounges.

"Singapore Airlines has been committed to the Australian market for more than 40 years and we are always looking for ways to serve our customers better. With regulatory approval, the partnership will enable us to offer even more choice for domestic and international air travel. Together with Virgin Australia we will provide the public with access to an enlarged network, offering a first-rate, integrated travel experience," said SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong.

"The partnership presents a significant opportunity for Singapore Airlines to drive growth in a manner consistent with our focus on service excellence, product innovation and network connectivity. It will enhance the attractiveness of Australia as a travel destination while also opening up new horizons for travellers from Australia."

Virgin Australia group of airlines CEO John Borghetti added: "Asia is clearly a critical market for us as we build our international alliance network. Singapore Airlines' extensive network throughout Asia will be particularly attractive to our international business and leisure travellers and this partnership, along with our other alliances, will mean Virgin Australia can now offer truly global flight coverage.

"With the recent re-positioning of our brand and the launch of our product enhancements, including domestic business class, Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines are ideally suited as airline partners."