V Australia sells cargo space to Virgin Atlantic

Washington DC
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As V Australia readies to inaugurate Sydney-Los Angeles service on 27 February, the Virgin Blue subsidiary has applied for regulatory approval to sell belly cargo to Virgin Group subsidiary Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Virgin Atlantic will use the capacity on flights between the United States and Australia, or it will sell the space to third parties, the companies tell the US DOT.

V Australia will operate Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on the city pair, which was supposed to start on 15 December 2008.

However, the Boeing machinist strike delayed the long-haul launch.

The belly cargo application comes as V Australia received its air operator's certificate (AOC) today, clearing the way for next week's inauguration.

V Australia, which has just received its first of six -300ERs on order, says it is the first Australian airline to have that aircraft type on its AOC. In addition to aircraft on order, V Australia has also secured one leased -300ER from International Lease Finance Corporation.

After the airline begins thrice weekly flights, it will increase offerings to daily on 21 March following the delivery of an additional -300ER.

In the meantime, V Australia will launch Brisbane-Los Angeles connections on 1 March, followed by Melbourne-Los Angeles links on 15 September.