BY JAMES WILKINSON
Virgin Blue has unveiled its highly anticipated domestic business class product as part of the airline’s strategy to chase a higher percentage of the lucrative corporate and government market.
Virgin Blue’s new domestic business class
Domestic business class will be featured for the first time on the airline’s new Airbus A330 aircraft that are set debut on flights between Sydney and Perth from May 2011.
Virgin Blue CEO and Managing Director John Borghetti said business class would be joined by a new economy class product for trans-continental flights.
“Our new designer business and economy class product marks another step forward in our ‘Game Change’ program, which aims to position Virgin Blue as the airline of choice for both the corporate and the leisure markets,” he said.
“Creative Director Hans Hulsbosch has led the superb new design of our wide-body Airbus 330s which is a sign of things to come for the Virgin Blue Group.
“Along with the highest levels of comfort, we will of course be offering very competitive air fares on these new services, which is great news for travellers that fly regularly between our East and West states,” he said.
Highlights of the A330 offering, which will be used thrice-daily on Sydney-Perth flights by June, include a 62-inch seat pitch in business class, seatback multi-channel in-flight entertainment and a range of high-quality food offerings.
Business class is then expected to be rolled-out across the Boeing 737 fleet before the end of 2011.
Borghetti has also announced Virgin Blue would introduce up to 18 new, fuel-efficient ATR72 turboprop aircraft on regional routes as part of a new strategic alliance with Skywest Airlines.
The first four 68-seater aircraft are set to be introduced from the middle of 2011, with a further four set to enter service in 2012.
Meanwhile, the airline has also introduced a new uniform for cabin and flight crew designed by Australian designer Juli Grbac.
The three announcements come alongside today’s inaugural V Australia flights from Sydney to Abu Dhabi in a big start to the year for the Virgin Blue Group.
Up next is the announcement of a new brand for Virgin Blue, which is expected to be unveiled by June 30, 2011.