By James Wilkinson
Following a successful launch party on Sydney’s Cockatoo Island, the world’s newest international airline, V Australia, has taken off for Los Angeles, marking a new era in aviation for Australia.
Rowntree and Branson go sky high
(Picture: Roderick Eime)
After a night of fun and excitement, it was back to business for the V Australia team on Friday (Feb 27), as the carrier took off for the first time on the Sydney-Los Angeles route with three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The airline is operating the route three times per week before ramping up to daily flights on March 20.
Onboard the inaugural VA1 flight – the first time two Australian airlines have flown the trans-Pacific route – were the airline’s co-founders, Sir Richard Branson and Brett Godfrey, as well as a number of celebrity guests, including singer Marcia Hines, Getaway presenter Catriona Rowntree and Australian rock band the Potbelleez.
“Almost ten years ago the Virgin Blue team revolutionised travel in this market, they bought back a sense of fun and flair to flying again and made travel much more accessible thanks to its low fares,” Branson said.
“It’s a true example of the benefits of competition and the Virgin Blue and V Australia teams who have already done a wonderful job of bringing fares to the USA tumbling down and I have no doubt they will continue to do so. This will bring tangible benefits to the tourism industry and to businesses at a time when it is most needed,” he said.
The launch of V Australia flights was made possible following the signing of an open skies agreement between governments of Australia and the USA in 2008.
“A great deal of thought and consideration has gone in to every detail of our new airline,” said Virgin Blue CEO, Brett Godfrey. “We are very proud of V Australia and the team will raise the standard of trans-Pacific travel, by offering a level of style, comfort and of course affordability, not seen before.
“We are well aware that in economic times like this, it is essential to provide stimulus through new business ventures which encourages optimism and new opportunities for other businesses around us and we will do our absolute utmost to support Australian tourism and business travel, both here and in the United States of America.”
The three-class cabins consists of 33 business class lie-flat beds, 40 premium economy club seats and 288 economy seats.
The suite of in-flight products includes two in-flight bars, a female toilet complete with piped music and Australian icons featured on subtle wallpaper murals. All seats on the brand new 777-300ER aircraft offer personal state-of-the-art seat back entertainment with user friendly touch screen options and seat to seat ‘chat’ or competition connectivity.
V Australia fares start from $975 for a return economy flight, $1999 for a premium economy return flight and $5999 for a business class return flight.
Bookings can be made here or by calling 13 82 87.