In a landmark event the Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia inked an agreement that is going to provide not only the airlines but also their passengers heaps of benefits. The agreement is subject to approval and is going to take effect from 1st August 2011.

Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia today announced in a joint news release that they have signed an agreement for making a long term alliance with each other. The alliance seeks to join Singapore Airlines’ network of international destinations with Virgin Australia’s routes within Australia and in the Pacific.

The agreement allows the two aviation giants to codeshare by selling tickets and seats on each other’s international as well as domestic flights.

An application to get the approval from Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will be lodged and the two airlines plan to begin the alliance from August 1 this year.

CEO of Singapore Airlines, Goh Choon Phong remarked “Singapore Airlines has been committed to the Australian market for more than 40 years and we are always looking for ways to serve our customers better. With regulatory approval, the partnership will enable us to offer even more choice for domestic and international air travel. Together with Virgin Australia we will provide the public with access to an enlarged network, offering a first-rate, integrated travel experience.”

Mr. Goh further added “The partnership presents a significant opportunity for Singapore Airlines to drive growth in a manner consistent with our focus on service excellence, product innovation and network connectivity. It will enhance the attractiveness of Australia as a travel destination while also opening up new horizons for travellers from Australia.”

Benefits to Passengers

Although, not considered to be the airlines selling cheap flight tickets, the frequent flyers on these carriers are sure to reap more benefits due to the agreement. The passengers of the two airlines, besides enjoying the each other’s lounge access, will benefit from reciprocal frequent flyer programme benefits.

The agreement has thrown open around 70 additional destinations for the Virgin Australia passengers using the Singapore Airlines network. The passengers of Singapore Airlines will have access to 30 more destinations using the Virgin Australia’s network.

The joint news release confirms that with effect from 1st August 2011 “Singapore Airlines customers will be able to interline on Virgin Australia’s domestic network, allowing them to travel through to a range of destinations with one ticket, through-checked baggage, terminal transfers and inclusive meals; and Virgin Australia Velocity Gold members and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold members will have reciprocal access to each airline’s airport lounges”.

Asia – Critical Market for Virgin

From the agreement, Virgin expects to get the advantage of more international business passengers who travel on short notice and pay a premium on booking of last minute fares of otherwise cheap flight tickets.

John Borghetti, CEO Virgin Australia group of airlines said “Asia is clearly a critical market for us as we build our international alliance network. Singapore Airlines’ extensive network throughout Asia will be particularly attractive to our international business and leisure travellers and this partnership, along with our other alliances, will mean Virgin Australia can now offer truly global flight coverage.

Mr. Borghetti further observed “We are delighted to be partnering with one of the most respected and innovative airlines in the world. When it first launched in Australia, Singapore Airlines revolutionised international air travel for Australians, providing a world class service to Asia, Europe and beyond.

Is Virgin mulling to join Star Alliance?

Speculations are on that Virgin, which is not a member of any global airline alliance so far, may consider joining Star Alliance. Singapore Airlines, which is also a 49pc stake holder in Virgin, is the member of the Star Alliance.

Early this year, Sir Richard Branson had expressed intentions of joining an airline alliance when he had quoted “We’ve enjoyed being independent but we think that having some kind of alliance attached to Virgin Atlantic will make us that much stronger,”

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