Virgin Australia announced (20-May-2013) the appointment of Judith Crompton to the newly created role of chief commercial officer. This role will have responsibility for Alliances, Network, Revenue Management and Sales, covering Virgin Australia’s domestic and international network. Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti said: “Virgin Australia has made significant progress with our Game Change Programme strategy and the creation of the chief commercial officer role is a key part of the next phase of this strategy". Prior to joining Virgin Australia in 2012 as group executive of Sales, Ms Crompton held the position of Head of Global Corporate Sales at Etihad Airways. She was responsible for the overall strategic direction and implementation of commercial sales for the airline globally, as well as representing Etihad to various stakeholders and the public. She has previously held senior sales and general management positions with Qantas as well as with other major global travel companies including TQ3 Navigant and Flight Centre Ltd. [more - original PR]
Virgin Australia appoints CCO
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There have recently been important shifts in Virgin Australia's partnership relations, as Air New Zealand withdraws its ownership and the roles of Singapore Airlines and Etihad evolve with HNA becoming a substantial shareholder. As a consequence, Virgin is restructuring its long haul network for the first time in over two years. Individual changes are not significant, but they help tie up loose ends in Virgin's strategy. Virgin and its US JV partner Delta have been static since United and Qantas-American Airlines greatly altered the Australia-US market profile, a route which constitutes most of Virgin's long haul network.
Virgin struggled to find a use for what was essentially leftover aircraft capacity that it allocated to Sydney-Abu Dhabi as part of a JV with Etihad. With a limited fleet, North America beckoning, and Etihad seemingly losing some lustre since a Virgin-Singapore Airlines partnership, Virgin is having to cut Sydney-Abu Dhabi to free up capacity to relaunch Melbourne-Los Angeles.
Virgin will still commit to its Etihad partnership by adding three weekly Perth-Abu Dhabi flights on the A330-200, which will finally be moved out of the domestic market and deployed long haul. Since the end of the West Australian mining boom, these well equipped aircraft are no longer needed on transcontinental domestic service. Virgin's fleet of five 777-300ERs now will exclusively be used on Los Angeles.
Tigerair Australia Part 2: LCC looks to Value Alliance to drive near-term growth opportunities
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The Bali operation has been relatively successful, despite the use of aircraft wet-leased from its full service, higher-cost parent. However, for now Tigerair Australia is focused on transferring the three Bali routes to its own fleet as part of a transition from A320s to 737s, rather than pursuing growth.
The Virgin Australia LCC subsidiary could potentially pursue international growth once it secures regulatory approvals to operate international services with its own operator’s certificate. Some domestic growth is also possible once it completes the transition from A320s to 737s in 2019.