Virgin Blue announces attractions for business-class passengers

Wednesday, September 3, 2008, 11:15 by Aviation Correspondent


Virgin Blue, the low-cost airline based in Australia, has announced what it calls a “collection of new product enhancements that are aimed at enhancing its appeal with the business market.”  

The new package unveiled by Virgin Blue, founded by of British business tycoon Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, includes a new lie-flat International Business Class beds, in-flight ‘V Bars’ for its proposed international subsidiary called V Australia as well as a new ‘The Lounge’ facility at the T2 domestic terminal in Sydney, Australia.  

Virgin Blue at present offers ‘The Lounge’ facilities in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. It is currently reviewing opportunities to open new ‘The Lounge’ facilities in other Virgin Blue ports across Australia, a statement from the company said. 

Virgin Blue, of the Virgin Blue Group of Airlines, is a low-cost airline and Australia’s second-biggest airline as well as the largest airline (by fleet size) with the Virgin branding. Virgin Blue is now majority-controlled by Toll Holdings. 

Virgin Blue was launched on August 3, 2000, with two aircraft initially offering seven return flights a day between Brisbane and Sydney. This has been expanded to cover all Australian cities, besides many holiday destinations. 

In the multi-million-dollar revamping of the Virgin Group of Airlines, Virgin Blue has taken over 1815 square metres of the former Ansett Golden Wing Lounge, the  statement from the company said. The space has been transformed into Virgin Blue’s flagship Australian The Lounge, with capacity for 400 guests.  

In the statement, Brett Godfrey, CEO of Virgin Blue, also announced the setting up of a crew base for Virgin Blue jets in Sydney, situated in the state of New South Wales. The crew base, according to the statement , will generate up to 1,000 aviation jobs on top of the 1,000 jobs announced earlier in 2008 with the opening of V Australia’s operational base in Sydney.  

According to Brett Godfrey, the proposed crew base in Sydney will include a Cabin Crew and Flight Crew training facility for V Australia and Virgin Blue’s Sydney-based crew. Virgin Blue intends to have 450 team members working from the Sydney base by the end of 2008, including cabin crew, pilots and licensed engineers.  

“The jet crew base in Sydney,” Godfrey said, “represents a significant expansion for Virgin Blue operations in Sydney and comes off the back of the recent launch of new regional flights from Sydney to Port Macquarie and Albury, as well as the launch of Capital Jet services on the Sydney-Canberra route. Virgin Blue is serious about being a viable business travel option for Australia’s corporate sector and this is demonstrated in our ongoing efforts to pre-empt the highly desirables for this market. We anticipated we would outgrow our smaller ‘The Lounge’ facility and have had a long-term plan to build Virgin Blue’s state-of-the-art flagship lounge at our busiest airport in the country.”  

Since launching its ‘New World Carrier’ strategy 3 years ago, Virgin Blue has progressively expanded its suite of business-friendly products and services, including the recent introduction of Premium Economy seating, the company statement claimed.