The dispute between Virgin Blue and Sydney Airport Corporation over use of T2 has been resolved! Sir Richard Branson made the announcement this morning in Sydney. Here is the official release from Virgin Blue:
The key terms of the agreement include:
* A 17 year Anchor tenancy agreement to allow Virgin Blue to remain in a firm competitive position vs. Qantas
* Annual charges comparable to those negotiated in April by Virgin Blue, allowing the airline to maintain its commitment to affordable travel for all Australians.
* The low fare airline being allowed to use its own IT systems that is now the standard of the world?s leading low fare carriers.
* Virgin Blue will also continue using its own baggage systems that help to avoid the risk that bags might get lost in the global airline network.
* Virgin Blue has priority over the first 6 gates in Pier A and access to an additional 6 gates to facilitate the airline?s growth.
* Branding consistent to what has been negotiated at other major airports.
* No need for Virgin Blue Guests to board a bus to get to their aircraft.
It is good to see that this dispute appears to have been settled. The release also hints at Virgin's international expansion intentions - there was an article in today's AFR about the possibility of Virgin Atlantic running full service flights LHR-HKG-Australia (no mention of city). The article went on to say that Virgin Atlantic could cater for other international full service flights from Australia, with Virgin Blue taking the low cost end of the international market.
Hopefully this will mean that, before the end of the year, we will now hear of a fleet decision from Virgin Blue - they have been delaying any announcement until the Sydney dispute was resolved.