Virgin Blue Group has hinted at future SkyTeam membership, reportedly stating that passengers originating in Australia may benefit if V Australia was permitted to enter SkyTeam, in a submission by Virgin Blue and Delta Air Lines (Sydney Morning Herald, 26-Jan-2010). The proposed alliance of Virgin and Delta on trans-Pacific routes still requires approval from the US Department of Transportation (DoT).
Virgin Blue hints at SkyTeam membership
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Air Canada and Virgin Australia codeshare, in a North American market dominated by Qantas
From early 2017 Air Canada and Virgin Australia introduce a tidy new partnership. Virgin Australia receives improved access to Canada – a market its JV partner Delta cannot sufficiently cover from their shared Los Angeles gateway. Air New Zealand's sixth freedom option, via Auckland, is the third largest transportation choice by Canadians visiting Australia. Since Virgin noisily fell out with Air NZ, the Australian airline is looking to reassert itself in Australia-North America markets that it had quietly let Air NZ dominate. Virgin has already announced plans to resume trans-Pacific services from Melbourne, which Air NZ took traffic from.
Air Canada is growing in Australia, expanding from its 2007 Sydney service with a 2016 Brisbane service, and perhaps soon Melbourne as well. Air Canada needs a partner for domestic and New Zealand connections as it expands its footprint and grows ahead of market demand. There is some conflict, since Air Canada - as it does for its expanding Asia and Europe presence – will look for USA sixth freedom traffic. Air Canada has favourable connections via Vancouver to a handful of American cities, including New York.
Mexican airlines: growing US protectionism creates a cloud of uncertainty over 2017
Mexican Airlines are starting 2017 under a cloud of uncertainty driven by the country’s slower economic growth and the increasing rhetoric by president-elect Donald Trump against US companies planning to sustain or expand their operations in that country. The US auto manufacturer Ford recently back-pedalled on plans to construct a new plant in Mexico, and GM has also drawn ire from the president-elect over its Mexican operations.
The threat of dissolving trade pacts, and Mr Trump’s general anti-immigration stance, sent the MXP plummeting after the US Presidential election, and the latest round of threats of taxation on automobiles manufactured outside the United States has put additional pressure on Mexico’s currency, which has been weaker during the last year and that has created pressure for Mexican airlines. However, for now, Mexico’s air passengers continue to grow at a steady rate. The country’s domestic airlines charted approximately 12% growth in passengers from Jan-2016 to Nov-2016, and international passengers among those airlines for the same time period strengthened by 11%.
Predicting whether those levels of growth will continue in 2017 is a challenge, given the level of uncertainty the US election has created for Mexico, along with internal strife the country is dealing with – including growing inflation and discontent over rising fuel prices.