Virgin Atlantic today announced that it has teamed up with its Australian sister airline Virgin Blue for a codeshare agreement effective from 17 July 2005. In keeping with both Virgin airlines’ history of innovation, the codeshare is possible due to a world first technology breakthrough. The IT teams of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue and Navitaire will roll out new codeshare technology successfully linking the unique Navitaire ‘Open Skies’ reservations system utilised by Virgin Blue and many of the world’s low cost carriers with the more complex traditional reservations system used by Virgin Atlantic.
The development allows Virgin Atlantic, which currently flies daily from London Heathrow to Sydney via Hong Kong, to extend its flights to the region - through a codeshare service operated by Virgin Blue - to Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns, Gold Coast and Coolangatta. Passengers flying on both award-winning airlines will benefit from being able to:
- Travel to, from and within Australia on a single Virgin Atlantic code on designated services.
- Enjoy smooth and hassle free domestic and international connections between the two award-winning Virgin airlines, be it for tourists wanting to travel to some of Australia’s stunning destinations or Australian’s keen to experience Hong Kong and London and beyond.
- Seamlessly book both their Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Blue flights at the same time via Virgin Atlantic reservations, removing the complicated process of multi-booking for various domestic and international flights.
Virgin Atlantic Head of Asia Pacific, Mackenzie Grant, said:
“This dynamic new code share partnership sees the marrying of two airlines with a history of award-winning service and innovative products.
“The benefits of this world’s first partnership are clear. Codeshare flyers will now benefit from Virgin Atlantic’s product, services and extensive international network while Virgin Blue’s broad Australian coverage opens up some of Australia’s most beautiful destinations to inbound travelers.
“Passengers currently flying on Virgin Atlantic are already enjoying an unrivalled flying experience with the Upper Class Suite - with the biggest fully flat bed in business class, an onboard bar and inflight beauty therapy - and our groundbreaking product, Premium Economy, we are proud to extend our services, through our sister airline, to a wider Australian audience”.
Virgin Blue Chief Executive Officer Brett Godfrey said
“It’s an exciting step forward as it streamlines the process of booking ‘Virgin all the way’ making it easier for travel agents to book our passengers on both airlines.
“It also signals how, together, we can make a growing contribution to Australian inbound tourism, offering multi destination Australian itineraries in Northern Hemisphere markets to bring visitors into Sydney on Virgin Atlantic’s flights from London, and flying them further in Australia onboard Virgin Blue.
“At a technical level we’re also pretty pleased to again be an innovator, thanks to the IT teams of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue and Navitaire to roll out the new codeshare technology.”