GulfAir
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Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 2:37 am

Taken from the Herald Sun website http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au


Virgin Atlantic signals landing
By Maria Hawthorne
15jul03

VIRGIN Atlantic could be flying daily to Australia by Christmas, Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson said today.

Sir Richard said he would appoint a team to work on developing an Australian route and hoped to have the new service up and running by the end of the year.
And he said the inaugural flight could be on the Concorde if he wins his battle with British Airways over control of the ageing supersonic aircraft fleet, which is due to be retired this October.

Sir Richard was speaking after a meeting in London with Australian Tourism Minister Joe Hockey.

"The minister on his trip to England has been twisting our arms trying to get us to fly Virgin Atlantic to Australia as soon as possible," Sir Richard said.

"As a result, we're going to have a team of people working on it. Hopefully, if we can get everything sorted out, maybe by Christmas or early in the New Year we'll see Virgin Atlantic flying either to Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne, or even two or three of those cities.

"We'll get to work on it."

Sir Richard said the kangaroo route needed some competition to shake up British Airways and Qantas, which he said were operating a duopoly.

"They own shares in each other, you'll find that they have identical fares, and the price of tickets does affect tourism," he said.

"If we can get in there and offer a better-quality product with lower fares, hopefully more people will go to Australia and fly Virgin Blue."

Virgin Blue began flying in 2000 and has between 25 and 30 per cent of the Australian domestic market.

Sir Richard will discuss his plans with John Howard when the Australian Prime Minister visits London later this year.

Mr Hockey said the decision was a huge step forward for the Australian tourism industry.

"There's only two European airlines flying into Australia - Lauda Air and BA - so the more European airlines that we can get into Australia the better," Mr Hockey said.

Virgin Atlantic, Europe's second largest long-haul airline, has a fleet of 25 planes with another 15 on order.

It carries 4.1 million passengers a year to 22 destinations and is the 25th largest airline in the world.

Singapore Airlines owns 49 per cent of the airline, which was set up 18 years ago.

Sir Richard said Virgin was still working on prising the Concordes away from British Airlines, which has so far refused to sell the jets despite announcing plans to take them out of service.

He said the British-designed planes still had 25 years' flying life left in them and would be a fantastic flagship for Britain.

"We're doing everything we can to embarrass BA into handing them over to us," he said.

"If we succeed, almost definitely the inaugural flight (to Australia), if nothing else, will be on a Concorde."


I cant wait to see VS operating to MEL, SYD and BNE. It really would be a severe problem for QF and BA on the Kangaroo route to LHR, especially if VS can offer substantially lower fares. What do you think? Australia really needs another European airline represented on our soil.

 
David_itl
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 2:47 am


Re the Concorde b*****ks...the megalomaniac strikes again! How many more times must he be told that CONCORDE WILL NOT FLY PAST OCTOBER despite BA originally wanting to keep it operating until April 2004!

Do not trust a word that man says!

David
 
donder10
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 2:54 am

Virgin Atlantic, Europe's second largest long-haul airline, has a fleet of 25 planes with another 15 on order

???????


He said the British-designed planes still had 25 years' flying life left in them and would be a fantastic flagship for Britain.

I would love to know where that figure came from.His 346s won't be around in 25 years!
 
Ikarus
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 3:08 am

"If we succeed, almost definitely the inaugural flight (to Australia), if nothing else, will be on a Concorde."

which almost sounds as if it means they won't succeed in the first place...

Anyway.

Are there really no other European airlines flying to Australia? apart from the charters (European Airlines) I thought Lufthansa or Air France would fly there as well... or have the alliances gone that far already?
 
CX747
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 3:44 am

So, besides the Concorde which will more than likely be in a muesem at that point in time, what aircraft will they use? Everyone else on the Kangaroo route is using either the 747-400 or 777-200ER.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
bobrayner
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 3:51 am

Virgin Atlantic is an extremely good operation, IMHO, if you set aside the bizarre press releases.
I'd love to see more competition between the UK and Australia.
Cunning linguist
 
gigneil
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 3:55 am

I'd expect VS to operate either the 744 or A346 on the route.

The A346 is certainly the reasonable route opener for this one...

Depending on the delivery schedules, and how well the route works, VS might even be the first airline to operate the A380 on the Kangaroo Route. That would really displease QF.

N
 
EGPX
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 3:59 am

Virgin to SYD sounds OK to me but I don't believe the BA/Qantas duopoly hype. All you have to do is look in the weekend papers to see good deals to Oz with a number of far eastern carriers such as SIA, MAS, All Nippon. I doubt the BA/Qantas fares would be as low as they are - they are the same now as they were in 1987 when I went with SIA - without this competition.

 
donder10
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 4:05 am

Many passengers get off at Singapore,HK,BKK and stay for a few days now before continuing on.
 
cedarjet
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 4:09 am

Oh come on. London to Sydney probably has more airlines competing than any other long haul route in the world. Hmm, let me see.

BA
Qantas
Singapore Airlines
Thai
Malaysia
Emirates
Gulf Air
Air New Zealand
United
Japan Air Lines
All Nippon
South African Airways
Aerolineas Argentinas
Lauda

And the Concorde will not fly past October. Branson is a complete arsehole if he thinks otherwise - obviously someone at Airbus must have told him how hard it is to keep BA's single flight to NY going. Spares went out of production more than a quarter of a century ago. Idiot!
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
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RayChuang
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 4:31 am

My guess is that VS will fly the LHR to SYD route using the LHR-KUL-SYD routing. The likely plane to initially fly the route: A340-600. Eventually, I do see VS fly this route with the A380-800 with plane fitted out with a fairly large Upper Class and Economy Plus seating.
 
airchabum
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 4:59 am

I understand that Australia services will be operated as an extension of the current LHR-HKG route once 5th freedom rights can be obtained. I guess they'd be operated by 744 but I don't know where they'd come from as the fleet is flying balls out at the moment!
Biggidy biggidy bong
 
bmistaff
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 6:51 am

Richard Branson is like a child who can't get his own way. He is such a sore loser when it comes to business. I can't believe he intends to sue BA for not selling Concorde, how can that really stand up in court. I say sell him Concorde and laugh when they brake down and he can't get them fixed!

If he was to fly to Australia he realy needs to rethink his service. VS doesn't even have a fully flat bed in upper class, BA have got them even in their club world. How he can charge upper class prices for a primitive style business service I'll never know.
 
EGPX
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 6:54 am

I'm sure Air Atlanta could find a few more classics to compliment the VS fleet...

Oh, and Cedarjet, well done on coming up with all those LON-SYD carriers - certainly puts my poxy three to shame. I would never have come up with Aerolineas Argentinas in a million years.
 
ba319-131
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 7:01 am

Richard lost the plot long ago!
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
Shamrock_747
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 7:09 am

bmistaff,

Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class product is a business class, with business class fares. Virgin don't have a first class.

Does anyone know if the Upper Class cabin/seat relaunch ever happened? About a month ago people were saying it would be in the next week but I never heard anything about it - did I miss it!?!

Shamrock_747
 
bmistaff
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 7:15 am

Shamrock_747: I did not know that, it shouldn't be called upper class then as it does imply a different name for first. THey definitely need one then, can't believe they don't have one!
 
gigneil
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 7:30 am

A first class?

Plenty of airlines are converting from a F/J/Y to just J/Y... and on a lot their new J service is as good as their first was.

SQ for one is configuring their A345s, a very, very longhaul aircraft, with only J and Y.

N
 
airchabum
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 8:46 am

Bmistaff/Shamrock_747

Coincidentally, the revamped Upper Class cabin and new flatbed seat are due to be launched today (Wed). I've not seen it 'in the flesh' but from the video/pics it looks very impressive. Having tried both of the current products I have to say that BA's is definitely more comfortable but I'm sure the new VS seat will be superior if first impressions are anything to go by.
Biggidy biggidy bong
 
StevenUhl777
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 8:58 am

Cedarjet: You say that United competes between London and Sydney? Not direct....anyone originating on United at LHR wanting to go to Sydney can only go through SFO or LAX. Makes for a painfully long day...I would think that most people going to SYD from LHR travel via BKK or SIN, or KUL, not via the USA.

And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!
 
donder10
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 9:03 am

Given the lack of biz/1st passengers to Aus,going via Socal would not surprise me.
 
MEA
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 11:05 am

There isn't that much of a time difference between flying through Asia or the USA:

SYD - SIN (8.10) + SIN - LON (13.30) = 21.40
SYD - LAX (13.25) + LAX - LON (10.10) = 23.35

Times above are flight times only from SQ & AA websites.

I believe United ran a few advertising campaigns a while ago for flights to London via the US.
 
BestWestern
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 5:35 pm


Has VS got UK CAA approval to operate this route?
Where has VS gotten fifth freedom rights to operate to Sydney from?
I understand that Hong Kong has told him to take a hike.
So, what to SQ think of this idea of stealing revenue from their Lon - SIN - Australian service?



You are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a flight than an average person!
 
cedarjet
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 8:04 pm

"You say that United competes between London and Sydney? Not direct...anyone originating on United at LHR wanting to go to Sydney can only go through SFO or LAX. Makes for a painfully long day...I would think that most people going to SYD from LHR travel via BKK or SIN, or KUL, not via the USA."

Oh come on. Of course United don't have same-plane service from Heathrow to Sydney. But why is changing plane so painful, when you have to stop (and get off) in Singapore or Bangkok on BA and Qantas, and what's more, one of the Qantas services schedules (but does not advertise) a four hour ground stop in SIN?

OK, if I have to spell it out:
BA - tech stop at BKK or SIN
Qantas - tech stop at BKK, LONG tech stop at SIN
Singapore Airlines - change at SIN
Thai - change at BKK
Malaysia - change at KUL
Emirates - change at DXB, tech stop at SIN
Gulf Air - change at BAH, tech stop at SIN
Air New Zealand - tech stop at LAX, change at Auckland
United - change at LAX
Japan Air Lines - change at NRT or KIX
All Nippon - change at NRT
South African Airways - change at JNB, tech stop at PER (possibly not anymore)
Aerolineas Argentinas - change at Buenos Aires, tech stop at Auckland.
Lauda - change at VIE, tech stop at KUL.

There. All of them take about 24 hours to do the trip and another 24 to recover from it. To say United is off the list cos it involves changing planes is illogical.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
DoorsToManual
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 8:27 pm

I for one would love to see VS fly the route - who cares what Branson says, does it really matter?
 
CX747
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Wed Jul 16, 2003 9:06 pm

I guess that tapping into Air Atlanta's current fleet of 747-200s could free up a few 747-400s? What about the possibility of ordering 4-5 more 747s? VS could definately get a good price on them and Boeing could probably find production slots that fit VS's needs.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
hkg82
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Thu Jul 17, 2003 2:46 am

Well Branson stated he wants the stop-over point to be Hong Kong & I hope all the parties involved work out a reciprocal agreement (unfortunately the HK government doesn’t maintain a full open skies policy, pity).

I wouldn’t be surprised if KUL ends up being the stop-over point. The authorities there are desperate for more foreign airlines & will do anything & everything to attract VS. It will be Hong Kong’s loss...

Hkg82.
 
MAS777
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Thu Jul 17, 2003 8:00 am

It would be interesting to see if Virgin does launch an LHR-KUL-SYD service since their code-share with Malaysian has been on the rocks for many years and with SQ taking a stake in VS -> this has only driven the partners further apart with VS now offering LHR-SYD flights via SIN on an SQ code-share.

Virgin already enjoys traffic rights between LHR, KUL and SYD so this would not be a difficult route to commence. I'm uncertain that VS would be eligible for the landing fees offer with KUL airport since technically they are not a 'new' airline flying in. The other problem VS may face is whether SQ would code-share with them on the LHR-KUL-SYD service - something the Malaysian authorities may in fact turn down due to 'national protectionism' - so VS would have to go it alone if they choose KUL - unless they reopened negotiations with MAS...(unlikely...)

VS have always stated that their route of choice would be LHR-HKG-SYD but BA and QF both have had difficulties with the HKG authorities for traffic rights so if HKG remains firm on not granting VS rights - then KUL may be a suitable alternative to get the route off the ground....

...mind you, Virgin have said for many years that they will be flying to Australia and initial press reports indicated that Virgin was to operate its own 747-400s into KUL when they started code-sharing with Malaysian. Years later, little has come from either statements!
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Thu Jul 17, 2003 1:47 pm

Virgin already enjoys traffic rights between LHR, KUL and SYD so this would not be a difficult route to commence. I'm uncertain that VS would be eligible for the landing fees offer with KUL airport since technically they are not a 'new' airline flying in. The other problem VS may face is whether SQ would code-share with them on the LHR-KUL-SYD service - something the Malaysian authorities may in fact turn down due to 'national protectionism' - so VS would have to go it alone if they choose KUL - unless they reopened negotiations with MAS...(unlikely...)

To operate your own aircraft on a route is different to code sharing with another airline Mas777! I am in AKL and I would lovge to see Virgin flying here! They would likely have a much higher chance of getting fifth freedom rights on a LHR-LAX-AKL-SYD route or something, it requires an extra stop though, LHR-AKL could do with a bit more direct competition with same plane services, only Air New Zealand operate daily AKL-LAX-LHR, heard they want a second daily through HKG but HKG is very strict on giving other airlines the rights, they can't even get a second daily LAX-LHR at the moment.

Virgin do have 1 more outstanding 747-400 order to be delivered this year or next, G-VROC I think it is. I think for SYD the 744 would be a better aircraft, you never no though they might go for BNE or MEL or both of those, BNE has no same plane service to Europe since BA left in 2000.
 
The Coachman
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Thu Jul 17, 2003 4:07 pm

Cedar, you forgot CX!  Smile

Also, SA don't fly here anymore, only to PER (IIRC) and QF fly JNB-SYD non-stop now. Branson's load of rubbish about there being no competition is ridiculous, there's more competition going from SYD-Asia-Europe than ever.

I think Cedar even forgot Korean (not that you would fly with them...hehe), and Air China as well.

AR don't fly to Australia either anymore.
M88, 722, 732, 733, 734, 73G, 73H, 742, 743, 744, 752, 762, 763, 772, 773, 77W, 320, 332, 333, 345, 388, DH8, SF3 - want
 
BestWestern
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Thu Jul 17, 2003 6:57 pm

This is all Virgin hot air... I'll pose my questions again...

Has VS got UK CAA approval to operate this route? Have they even asked?

Where has VS gotten fifth freedom rights to operate to Sydney from?
I understand that Hong Kong has told him to take a hike - they need to protect their own carriers

What to SQ think of this idea of stealing revenue from their Lon - SIN - Australian service? - they own 49% of Virgin Atlantic


You are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a flight than an average person!
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Thu Jul 17, 2003 7:00 pm

AR do fly to Australia still!!! They offer a service from LHR-MAD with an MD80 or something and then on to EZE-AKL-SYD so that's 3 stops with 2 aircraft changes, not really in direct competition.
 
cedarjet
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Thu Jul 17, 2003 9:30 pm

Cathay, the best airline on the route!! How could I forget? Koreanair and Air China is a little easier to forgive, but priding myself as an authority the way I do, I am very ashamed. Apologies to the forum.

Do Eva fly to Aus? And does China Air Lines count, since they advertise a through fare which includes the first leg from LHR to AMS on British Midland to connect with their AMS-TPE MD11 service (probably a 747-400 these days)?
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
DoorsToManual
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Thu Jul 17, 2003 9:37 pm

Korean......not that you would fly with them...hehe

If the price is right, many people would! That's exactly the airline I flew to SYD with in December....I'm still here!! 34" seat-pitch & great service - British flightcrew all the way too.
 
airchabum
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Thu Jul 17, 2003 9:57 pm

Cedarjet

I've got some friends who went down there on Asiana last year! And how about Royal Brunei? I know they go to PER but not sure about SYD.
Biggidy biggidy bong
 
MAS777
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Fri Jul 18, 2003 1:18 am

...To operate your own aircraft on a route is different to code sharing with another airline Mas777...

Thanks for pointing that one out to me ZK-NBT  Insane something I think we are all well aware of here and hence my discussion point.

The point that VS already enjoys traffic rights means there will be considerably less red tape to get through to open a LHR-KUL-SYD route on its own. The point about the free landing fees at KUL which may not apply to VS would also be important as it would add to cost of operating the route should VS want to do so. Chances of MAS and VS working together again - so MAS can operate x3 daily LHR-KUL-Australia and add its code to another daily LHR-KUL-SYD service would be very slim given the political climate between the two carriers.

We would all love to see a new carrier operating into our airports but frankly VS operating an LHR-LAX-AKL-SYD and succeeding in obtaining traffic rights - well -  Nuts
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Fri Jul 18, 2003 2:22 pm

What are you trying to say Mas777?

At this stage VS don't want LHR-KUL-SYD! Why, how and since when have they had the rights to do KUL-SYD? They probably would have alot better chance of getting rights more quickly on LAX-AKL than HKG-SYD, LAX-AKL has 2 carriers in NZ and QF who want to get into bed together therefore eliminating all competition, Virgin Blue don't want the alliance to go through because it is anti competitive and quite frankly I don't see Richard Branson thinking any different myself. I do think they will get the rights for HKG-SYD eventually but will they wait that long? Or will they choose another route? I'm not saying they won't go via KUL either but since they have the rights they don't seem to want to use them.
 
MAS777
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:27 pm

 Sad

Virgin have had traffic rights between Kuala Lumpur and Sydney and Melbourne since the early 1990s when the code-share with Malaysia Airlines began. Virgin Atlantic has an office in Kuala Lumpur and sells Virgin Atlantic tickets on the KL-Syd/Mel route (along with tickets for London, as flights VS500-series) much like its own service - except of course - the service is that of Malaysia Airlines. This code-share initially began with a view to Virgin Atlantic operating one of the then twice daily LHR-KUL services using their own 747-400s but this option was retracted and Virgin placed their own cabin crew on MAS flights between London and Australia instead. This code-share has gone sour (especially with SQ's stake in VS) and you'd hardly notice any VS participation nowadays except for the VS flight numbers tagged on MAS' services.

If you re-read my original post - I am aware that VS are currently not interested in operating an LHR-KUL-SYD service but this was mentioned by someone else earlier and it threw up an interesting scenario.

The fact that VS announced that they were going to be in Oz by Dec started this idea of VS' option of using KUL (since they have little bureaucracy to do so given my explanation above) - since they currently don't have rights to operate via anywhere else!

Their ideal would be HKG but have had nothing but brick walls placed in front of them in trying to obtain rights. With regards to Singapore - they could again use SIN as a stopover but since SQ now owns a large part of VS -> I don't think this is a suitable option for VS at the moment either.
 
odie
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Sat Jul 19, 2003 8:10 am

Bestwestern:
If I am not mistaken, Virgin have been given the green light from both the Australian and British CAA. Now they are just waiting for their stopover cities for fifth freedom rights.

HKG - Was the first choice but the Hong Kong refused to give Virgin fifth freedom rights.
PVG - Was also one of the prefered stopover city, but I don't think any airlines have fifth freedom (passenger service) rights in China at all.
SIN - Shouldn't have any problems obtaining fifth freedom rights, but the are going to compete with SIA.
KUL - Possible candidate
BKK - Another possible candidate - the chances of it going via BKK might be higher than going via KUL.
LAX - They are going to do a really big detour!

Also, I am still puzzled why Virgin's code on MAS' flight to KUL and SYD remained as VS 501/502/503/504/523/522. All of their code-share flights are in the thousand series (4 digits). Single, doube and triple digits are mainly Virgin operated flights (physically).
 
VS11
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Sat Jul 19, 2003 11:36 am

To see the web site for the new Upper Class Suite visit
http://www.upperclasssuite.com/index.php?flashdetect=yesflash&page=&media_code=&campaign_code=&vregion=3

If the link does not work, just go to the VS website -

and look for the ad in the upper right corner.

Virgin as always is phenomenal.....see for yourself...


Regards,

vs11
 
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VirginFlyer
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RE: Virgin Atlantic To Operate To Australia By DEC

Sat Jul 19, 2003 12:46 pm

MAS777 - I am pretty sure you will find Virgin Atlantic do not have the right to offer capacity on the LHR-KUL-SYD route. They are simply using capacity allocated to MAS. I am trying to find the relevant IASC document, and I will post it here when I find it. In the meantime, take a look at http://www.iasc.gov.au

V/F
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