Australia’s newest international airline, V Australia, takes to the skies today with the first commercial service departing Sydney, Australia at 3pm.
Sydney, Australia – On board the inaugural flight will be the airline Group’s co-founders, Sir Richard Branson and Brett Godfrey, as well as some special Australian celebrity Guests, including singer Marcia Hines, Getaway presenter Catriona Rowntree and Australian rock band, the Potbelleez.
The historic launch of V Australia flights was made possible following the signing of an open skies agreement concluded between the Federal Governments of Australia and the United States of America 12 months ago.
V Australia lobbied for permission to operate trans-Pacific flights in order to open up travel between the two countries and provide an innovative, affordable and high quality flying option, in the same way Virgin Blue has done domestically in Australia and Pacific Blue has done on the trans-Tasman and domestically in New Zealand.
Virgin Group Chairman, Sir Richard Branson, said, „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. 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.
V Australia’s launch flight will operate from Sydney to Los Angeles, with three flights a week from today, ramping up to daily from March 20. The carrier will also launch direct flights between Brisbane and Los Angeles and Melbourne and Los Angeles and recently confirmed it has set its sights on launching its next route from Australia to South Africa.
Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said, „We are launching a new contemporary international airline for Australia. Today’s flight to Los Angeles marks the start of a new era for Australian’s who travel long distances overseas.
„A great deal of thought and consideration has gone in to every detail of our new airline. We are very proud of V Australia and we believe that today’s first Guests and those that follow will have their expectations surpassed. From 3pm today, the team at V Australia will raise the standard of trans-Pacific travel, by offering a level of style, comfort and of course affordability, not seen before.“
Brett Godfrey added, „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 boutique style airline offers 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 is the only carrier to operate the economically and environmentally efficient Boeing 777 aircraft on the long haul trans-Pacific route.
Joining Richard, Brett, invited Guests and paying passengers, on today’s launch flight is a group of 80 Virgin Blue Group team members taking advantage of the airline’s staff travel policy to be part of the inaugural service and share in the in-flight excitement. The airline last night hosted a charity fundraising launch event in Sydney for corporate, industry and travel agents to raise funds for the Red Cross Fire and Flood Appeals as well as raise awareness of the new services and will do the same again on arrival in Hollywood.