Virgin Blue Group and Etihad Airways welcomed (23-Sep-2010) the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) interim approval of their proposed alliance. CEO and Managing Director, John Borghetti, said the approval by the ACCC meant the airlines would commence selling airfares between Australia and Abu Dhabi with connections on Etihad’s extensive network from 01-Oct-2010. Etihad CEO James Hogan stated “it is air travellers around the world who have the most to gain from the partnership”. Mr Hogan added the carriers will look to further expand the partnership in the future. Together, Etihad and V Australia will move towards 27 weekly services between Abu Dhabi and Australia – including twice daily services between Abu Dhabi and Sydney, daily Melbourne-Abu Dhabi flights and six frequencies per week between Abu Dhabi and Brisbane. [more - Virgin Blue] [more - Etihad Airways]
Virgin Blue and Etihad welcome interim approval of partnership
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Virgin Australia realigns its airline partnership priorities on new long haul strategy: Part 1
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.
AirAsia X Part 2: LCC's Australian expansion could include Brisbane, Canberra, Nth Queensland
Malaysia’s AirAsia X is considering the launch of services to several new gateways in Australia. Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra and Townsville are all under consideration as the medium/long haul low cost group resumes expansion.
AirAsia X is also considering launching nonstop flights from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland. The airline launched services to Auckland via the Gold Coast in Mar-2016 and the route has so far exceeded its expectations, prompting it to consider a nonstop product for Auckland and one-stop services to secondary destinations in New Zealand.
This is the second in a series of analysis reports on AirAsia X. The first report looked at the resumption of capacity expansion in the Australia-Malaysia market in 2016 with additional flights to existing markets. This report focuses on possible new destinations in Australia for 2017, and potential growth in New Zealand.