Virgin Australia Includes Virgin Blue Airlines, V Australia and Virgin Australia



Known As: Virgin Blue Airlines

Full Name: Virgin Blue Airlines PTY Ltd.

Country: Australia

Call sign: Virgin

Objects in Collection

Virgin Blue

V Australia

Virgin Australia

Brief History

Virgin Blue was launched on 3 August 2000, with two aircraft initially offering seven return flights a day between Brisbane and Sydney. Ansett's failure allowed Virgin Blue to grow rapidly to become Australia's second domestic carrier.

In early 2005 Patrick launched a hostile takeover for Virgin Blue. Patrick had been unhappy for some time with the company's direction. By the closure of the offer, Patrick held 62% of the company, giving it control. Virgin Group retains a 25% share. In May 2006 Toll Holdings acquired Patrick and became the majority owner of Virgin Blue.

The airline ordered 20 Embraer E-jets, in a mix of six ERJ-170s and 14 ERJ-190s, with the intent of taking as many as another 20 aircraft. The first ERJ-170 arrived in Australia in September 2007 and by the end of the year the three on initial order had been delivered. These were placed on limited-frequency services before full-scale operations were launched on 4 February 2008.

A one-cent fare was used to promote the Port Macquarie and Albury services.The flights to Canberra and the regional centers signify an effort to compete more directly with Qantas and its subsidiary QantasLink operation, which flies to all three cities, with independent Regional Express Airlines, which flies to Albury, caught in the middle

In September 2003, Virgin Blue announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Pacific Blue, would offer a similar cheaper service between New Zealand and mainland Australia.

In August 2007, Virgin Blue announced their intention to begin domestic Pacific Blue services within New Zealand. Flights between Auckland and Wellington, Christchurch and Wellington, and Auckland and Christchurch, began on 12 November 2007.

Qantas responded to Virgin Blue's lower cost base by creating a new low-cost domestic carrier, Jetstar Airways in 2004. In May 2005 Jetstar announced that it would also commence services to Christchurch, New Zealand and in 2006 many other overseas destinations.

Virgin Blue's 50th Boeing 737 'Virgin-ia Blue' is the only aircraft in the fleet actually painted blue at its inception in 2000.

In early 2006 Virgin Blue announced its intention to operate up to seven flights a week to the United States using either Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) or San Francisco International Airport (SFO), saying that the route was needed to make the airline as profitable as possible. The airline has also expressed interest in flying to Japan.

The airline was granted approval for up to 10 flights a week from Australian regulatory bodies on 25 July 2007. It is still waiting for approval from the United States authorities.Virgin Blue  ordered six Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from Boeing for use on international routes.

In November 2007, the airline announced an interline deal with international carrier Garuda Indonesia, offering  transfer from a domestic Virgin Blue flight to an international Garuda service departing from Perth, Melbourne, Sydney or Darwin

In 2008, Premium Economy Class was introduced throughout its entire fleet.

In December 2010, Virgin Blue entered into alliances with Etihad Airways and Air New Zealand for code-sharing, reciprocal lounge and frequent flyer access and other co-operational projects.

On Friday, 7 May 2010, Brett Godfrey officially stepped down as Virgin Blue CEO after steering the company through its first ten years.John Borghetti, former Qantas executive general manager, took over as the new Chief Executive.

On 20 January 2011, Air New Zealand announced it would take a shareholding stake of between 10% and 14.99% in Virgin Blue. Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe described the investment "as part of Air New Zealand's strategy to develop scale and reach in this region" but said the airline had no intention of making a full takeover.

In February 2011, the re-brand was confirmed when the airline announced that the word 'Blue' would be dropped from its name as part of a campaign to attract more business travellers away from rival Qantas. This came shortly after the unveiling of new crew uniforms and business-class seats. The airline stated that the re-brand would proceed in stages and would reportedly include a new fleet livery and the renaming of the other Virgin Blue Group airlines as well.

On 4 May 2011, the former Virgin Blue revealed its new name, Virgin Australia, as well as its new livery. In addition to the new name, branding and livery, the airline also showed off its new flagship the Airbus 330 with new domestic business class. Boeing 737 business class seating was also revealed, to be introduced on all of Virgin's jet aircraft by the end of 2011.

21st April 2020 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic and debt issues Virgin Australia has entered voluntary administration, leaving the jobs of at least 15,000 airline workers and connected supply chain workers under a cloud.

In a statement to the ASX, the airline said the move would help "recapitalise the business" and ensure it emerged "in a stronger financial position on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis".

The board of directors has appointed Deloitte's Vaughan Strawbridge, John Greig, Sal Algeri and Richard Hughes as voluntary administrators of the company and a number of its subsidiaries.

Mr Strawbridge said there were "no plans to make any redundancies." The airline will continue to operate its scheduled international and domestic flights.

V Australia

V Australia was a long haul international airline owned by Virgin Australia Holdings.

Founded: 2007
Commenced operations: 27 February 2009

Ceased operations:  7 December 2011 merged with Virgin Australia

Operating Bases: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

Frequent-flyer Program: Velocity Frequent Flyer

Fleet Size:  5 x 777-300 ER

Company Slogan: Everyday A New Idea Takes Off

Parent Company: Virgin Australia Holdings

Headquarters: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

 Key People:  Sir Richard Branson (President, Virgin Australia)
 John Borghetti (CEO, Virgin Australia Holdings)

The name of Virgin Blue's international airline was decided in the same way that Virgin Blue's own name was found, with a public naming competition conducted in early June 2007.

Australia Blue and Virgin Pacific were early favourites to win the competition, despite a problem with the latter, as Singapore Airlines (through its stake in Virgin Atlantic) has control over the use of the 'Virgin' name on International air routes, and had not, in the past, allowed its use.

On 25 July 2007, Virgin Blue announced that V Australia would be the name of the new carrier, with the runner up of the competition, Didgeree Blue, to be the name of the airline's first plane

In early 2006, Virgin Blue announced its intention to operate up to seven flights a week to the U.S. through either Los Angeles International Airport or San Francisco International Airport, saying that the route was needed to make the airline as profitable as possible. The airline was given permission for ten flights a week to the U.S. by Australian regulators on 24 July 2007.

The plans were approved by US regulators on 15 February 2008, due to the signing of an open skies agreement between Australia and the US.

V Australia has since been allowed unlimited capacity between Australia and the U.S. by the Australian International Air Services Commission.
Since then, V Australia applied to the United States Department of Transportation to operate services to and from Sydney Airport to Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas), and John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York City). Permission from the United States Department of Transportation was given after the signing of the open skies agreement.
V Australia placed orders with Boeing to purchase six Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for use on international routes. Pending delivery of the six aircraft, V Australia leased its first Boeing 777-300ER from the International Lease Finance Corporation; named Didgeree Blue, it was delivered to V Australia in Seattle at Boeing's headquarters on 26 January 2009.

On 9 February Didgeree Blue touched down at Sydney Kingsford-Smith Airport after flying from Seattle via Los Angeles where it was launched to the U.S. press by Sir Richard Branson and Australian celebrities Julian McMahon and Holly Valance. In 2010 two of the Boeing 777 orders were converted to options for delivery in 2012.
V Australia commenced passenger services on 27 February 2009.
On 17 August 2009, V Australia announced that it would expand on its Brisbane/Sydney to Los Angeles routes. It was announced that the airline would fly from Melbourne to Johannesburg, Los Angeles and Phuket, Thailand; as well as Brisbane to Phuket.
V Australia also announced on 17 August 2009 that it had applied to fly between Australia and Fiji.
V Australia also considered routes to China, according to an interview with Sir Richard Branson.
On 26 August 2010 it was announced that due the unprofitability of some routes, V Australia would cease its 777-300ER services to Johannesburg and Phuket.

On 24 February 2011, the aircraft were redeployed on services between Sydney and Abu Dhabi to coincide with the partnership between V Australia and Etihad Airways.

On 4 May 2011, parent company Virgin Blue announced the rebranding of all of its services (including V Australia and Pacific Blue Airlines) under the new brand Virgin Australia.
V Australia was absorbed by Virgin Australia on 7 December 2011 and ceased to operate under the V Australia name.

Virgin Australia Regional

Virgin Australia Holdings purchased 10% of Skywest Airlines Ltd on 10 April 2012. On 30 October 2012, Virgin Australia announced a takeover bid for Skywest Airlines. It had received in principle support from the Board but the takeover would require shareholder and regulatory approval.

On 11 April 2013, Virgin Australia Holdings completed its 100% acquisition of Skywest Airlines.
From 7 May 2013, the use of the Skywest brand was discontinued and the airline became part of the Virgin Australia brand, however it will continue to operate under its current Air Operator’s Certificate and its own management team.