By viewing this website you are deemed to have accepted our Cookie and Privacy Policies. For full details click here.
The VA Source
Get The Source on these great airlines:
Website hosted by Plain English Internet
Website designed and maintained by Plain English Websites
© The VA Source 2012
Virgin Australia was born as Virgin Blue and commenced services on 31 August 2000
on the Brisbane -
The Virgin Blue name was chosen as the winner of a naming competition and the predominantly red livery was said to be both a play on the Australian nickname of a “bluey” for a redhead and also a deliberate attempt to distinguish the aircraft from the mainly white aircraft of QANTAS and Ansett Australia. In reality the livery already existed on Virgin Express aircraft in Europe and the initial plan was to regularly switch aircraft between the northern and southern hemisphere summer seasons.
It was the failure of Ansett Australia on 11th September 2001 that allowed Virgin
Blue to begin its rapid expansion. Whilst Virgin Blue had the capital to expand facilities
at many Australian airports were near to capacity and the failure of Ansett gave
Virgin Blue access to many of the failed carrier’s terminal facilities. Many former
Ansett Golden Wing lounges became The Blue Room with pay-
The initial Virgin Blue formula was similar to that pioneered by Southwest Airlines in the United States whereby flights were initially only available via the internet or a call centre. The initial business plan had called for the airline to operate purely as a point to point carrier with no connection with any other carrier. However the collapse of Ansett created the opportunity for links to be established with overseas carriers who had previously been linked with Ansett.
The first agreement was with United Airlines who placed their code on Virgin Blue flights from Sydney and Melbourne permitting passengers from the US to book through tickets onto Virgin Blue flights in Australia. In order to achieve this the airline made seats available to the travel trade via the Global Distribution Systems.
Further interline agreements were later signed with Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Garuda and Vietnam Airlines, as well as Sky West Airlines in Western Australia.
Though the airline had began operations with leased Boeing 737-
Mr Borghetti quickly established a new direction for the airline. The loss making V Australia routes to Johannesburg and Phuket were rapidly axed and the airline began to seek joint ventures with other carriers.
A joint venture with Delta Airlines was established for routes to the USA, a joint venture with Air New Zealand was established for routes across the Tasman, a joint venture was established with Etihad Airlines for routes to the Middle East and Europe and a ten year agreement was agreed with SkyWest Airlines in Perth to operate eighteen ATR turboprop aircraft in Virgin colours on services, especially those based on Perth.
Perhaps Mr Borghetti’s biggest impact was to come with the complete re-
In a publicity coup three of the plain white aircraft were fitted with AFL decals to celebrate Virgin taking the AFL marketing contract from QANTAS in a deal worth over AS$5 million.
Rumours on the new airline name reached fever pitch whilst behind the scenes negotiations
were made with Singapore Airlines to allow the use of the Virgin name on International
services. Once that was successfully concluded a product launch was set for 4 May
2011 at Sydney airport. Boeing 737-
The aircraft both featured a dedicated Business Class cabin and the intention is
to replace Premium Economy with Business Class on all prime business routes once
sufficient Boeing 737-
Rapid expansion saw the airline spread across Australia, including taking on QANTAS
head to head on the lucrative Sydney -
In 2004 the airline began International operations on the Brisbane -
Pacific Blue operated Boeing 737-
In 2005 a joint venture was launched with the government of Samoa for operations
from Apia to Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney. This venture was called Polynesian Blue
and operates a single Boeing 737-
On board entertainment was introduced in 2006 with the Live2Air system fitted to
most of the 737 fleet. Apart from the moving map this is a pay-
Premium Economy was introduced in 2008 with convertible seats fitted to the front three rows of the 737s. The Embraers had fixed seats but with greater legroom and finished in a different colour in the front three rows. The Premium Economy product included meals and drinks, free use of the entertainment systems, lounge access and priority boarding. At the same time the airline began charging for baggage for Economy passengers.
In 2009 longhaul subsidiary V Australia was launched with services from Sydney -
In May 2010 Brett Godfrey, who had led the airline through its first decade, stepped down and was replaced by John Borghetti, a former QANTAS general manager, as Chief Executive.