Virgin Australia responds to Qantas grounding; looking to bring in foreign aircraft domestically


Virgin Australia has quickly responded to the grounding of Qantas' mainline domestic and long-haul flights that went into affect at 5pm on 29-Oct-2011 in a bold move to make three of Qantas' unions settle ongoing wage and job security disputes.

In a nearly globally unprecedented occurrence, Virgin Australia is liaising with the Australian government to allow its alliance partners – Air New Zealand, Delta, Etihad and Singapore Airlines – to operate their foreign-registered aircraft domestically in Australia to help clear the impending backlog of Qantas customers. Qantas says it carrier 68,000 domestic and international passengers a day.

See related article: Qantas throws gauntlet to unions by grounding fleet and locking out union employees

Virgin Australia will set up compassionate fares for Qantas travellers, which can be purchased on the airline's website. At airports a dedicated centre to help assist passengers will be set up.

The carrier reports its off-duty staff are calling in to ask if they can help with the situation.

Virgin Australia is in the midst of a brand and product transformation that will see the carrier become a full-service airline in direct competition to Qantas. Ongoing industrial action at Qantas may provide a huge and lasting boost in high-yielding corporate clientele. Virgin wants to increase its share of the Australian corporate market from 10% to 20%.

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