16-Aug-2010 9:51 AM

Virgin Blue Group of Airlines announces first phase of network review. Suspending dom NZ

Virgin Blue Group of Airlines (VBA) CEO, John Borghetti, announced (16-Aug-2010) the first phase of the group’s network review aimed at delivering increased competition and capturing growth opportunities. Mr Borghetti said Pacific Blue would expand as an international medium-haul airline with operations across the Tasman, the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia. The group plans to suspend Pacific Blue's New Zealand domestic routes and redeploy its New Zealand-based aircraft on trans-Tasman and medium-haul international routes. Passengers with forward bookings on the New Zealand routes from 18-Oct-2010 will be provided with re-accommodation and refund options. Mr Borghetti stated that growing capacity on trans-Tasman routes was a positive step that would see an increase in New Zealand-based staff. Meanwhile, by year-end, V Australia will be fully devoted to international long-haul business more suited to the B777 fleet, with Fiji serviced by Pacific Blue. Virgin Blue will continue to focus on strengthening its domestic operations, building on its recently increased frequency and capacity on key routes and the bilateral agreement with Sky West, increasing its reach into the burgeoning Western Australian intrastate market. Mr Borghetti said there were more developments in the pipeline to increase domestic competitiveness. Recent changes to domestic flight patterns and frequencies now provide more than 490,000 additional seats across the Virgin Blue domestic network. Key route changes across the network are as follows: 

  • Pacific Blue international expansion:
    • Brisbane-Hamilton International: increased to four times weekly on 06-Aug-2010;
    • Sydney-Hamilton International: suspended on 30-Jul-2010;
    • Denpasar-Melbourne: increased to daily on 18-Aug-2010;
    • Perth-Phuket: increased to three times weekly on 19-Aug-2010;
    • Brisbane-Dunedin: increased to four times weekly on 17-Sep-2010;
    • Christchurch-Melbourne: increased to daily on 31-Oct-2010.
  • V Australia:
    • Sydney-Los Angeles: 
      • adjusted to morning departure from Sydney to provide travellers convenient same-day connections to the US East Coast from 19-Oct-2010;
      • frequency to be increased to daily from Dec-2010;
    • Fiji: capacity on V Australia medium-haul flights to Fiji will be taken up by Pacific Blue on 19-Oct-2010;
    • Melbourne-Johannesburg, Melbourne-Los Angeles, Melbourne-Phuket: to operate additional weekly service from Dec-2010. [more]

Air New Zealand announced (16-Aug-2010) it will carry passengers disrupted by Pacific Blue’s withdrawal of domestic services. Passengers will be able to be rebooked onto Air New Zealand services as close to their booked departure time. [more]

Virgin Blue: “As we enter a new era for Virgin Blue it is vital that we have the right aircraft on the right routes if we are to fully exploit our competitive advantages in the context of the group’s three core business: domestic short-haul, international medium-haul and international long-haul. We are adding capacity to routes with strong revenue potential and accordingly, removing capacity from services which are underperforming. These changes will maximise yields, increase aircraft utilisation and also provide a more attractive schedule for the business market, including better integration of our international and domestic schedules ... By restructuring our Pacific Blue operations we are now able to free up our long haul V Australia aircraft to capture the growing demand for travel to the US,” John Borghetti, CEO. Source: Virgin Blue, 16-Aug-2010.

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