Updated: Virgin Blue CEO John Borghetti revealed key parts of the airline’s program to introduce new product at a briefing in Sydney this afternoon.
These images are of a wide body transcontinental business class that is definitely superior to any configuration flown by Qantas except in its A380s.
The seat pitch in the A330-200s that will get this product for domestic use, primarily on the Perth-Sydney route from May this year is 157 cms, and a similar seat but with less legroom will be introduced on its single aisle 737 fleet by the end of the year.
The slide summarising future (phase 2) developments (below) includes a rebranding exercise which Borghetti said would see the number of Virgin Blue brands reduce from a current four to three, two or even one by June.
The presentation made no direct reference to an Asian airline alliance or association, however Borghetti said there were many things that we not in the paper, and that arrangements for working with a carrier in the Asia-Pacific hemisphere were “very much in our focus.”
When asked about the different product configurations used across the Tasman by Pacific Blue and Air New Zealand, its alliance partner on those routes, Borghetti said there would also be a launch of a new Tasman product different to the forthcoming new domestic single aisle product, but did not elaborate.
The introduction of lounge with direct entry and front door valet reception at Sydney Airport in April will bypass both the main terminal checking in and security lines with an exclusive security screening process for lounge users. A Virgin (insert brand name here) lounge will open at the Gold Coast Airport by the end of the year, the Melbourne and Brisbane lounges are currently being rebuilt, and two more lounges are due to be announced for other destinations that will open next year.
A major relaunch of the Velocity loyalty program will occur toward the end of this year.
While there is no illustration of how the single aisle new product will look in the Boeing 737s and Embraer E-jets, there is a generic slide of the interior of an ATR72 turboprop, which will start appearing on regional routes from the middle of this year.