Sir Richard Branson has won a ten-year battle to combine his three Australian carriers – Virgin Blue, V Australia and Pacific Blue – under one moniker, Virgin Australia.
A previous ruling prevented him from using the “Virgin” name on aircraft that flew international routes. But now he is able to combine his domestic and international operations under the brand name Virgin Australia.
“I know it will shake up the Australian travel market on a larger scale than it did 10 years ago,” Branson said.
The move will help the company gain passengers in overseas markets, such as the US where it has lacked brand awareness.
The change to Virgin Australia also reflects a slightly more conservative approach to its branding as it attempts to gain share of the corporate market from Qantas.
The airline plans to install premium cabins on its fleet before the end of next year.
The majority of its Boeing 737 aircraft will be reconfigured by the end of this year.
‘‘What we have to get across is that Virgin Australia is going to be very similar to Virgin Atlantic going forward,’’ said Richard Branson, the largest shareholder in the Australian carrier.
The use of the ‘‘Virgin’’ moniker resolves a long-running impasse over a complicated licensing agreement. Under the deal, Singapore Airlines and Branson - the two shareholders of Virgin Atlantic - had the right of veto over the use of the moniker on international flights.
One of the challenges for Australian airline had been to emphasise to travellers that its four brands were one and the same.
The rebranding comes as the Australian airline is faced with some of the toughest market conditions since it was launched in August 2000. It warned about a month ago that its losses will hit as much as $150 million in the second half due to natural disasters, high fuel prices and weak consumer spending.