Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Happy 21st Birthday Virgin Australia



Virgin Australia (ex Virgin Blue) is having a milestone birthday today. Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd, commonly referred to as Virgin, was one of Australia's largest airlines, (behind Qantas) and it was the largest airline by fleet size to use the Virgin brand. It commenced services here in Australia on the 31st August 2000 as Virgin Blue, with just two aircraft on a single route. 


It suddenly found itself as a major airline in Australia's domestic market after the collapse of Ansett Australia in September 2001. Before Covid the airline had grown to directly serve 52 cities both domestically and internationally. Virgin Blue also owned airlines like Pacific Blue; Polynesian Blue and V Australia but now they all operate under the name Virgin Australia.
The airline's head office is based here in Brisbane in the Flight Centre building in Southbank. It was co-founded by British businessman Richard Branson (the founder of Virgin Group), and former CEO Brett Godfrey. In 2011, the airline went through a massive transformation, changing of their brand to Virgin Australia. This included the introduction of a new aircraft livery, new uniforms, and new on board menu options. New wide-body aircraft were acquired for use to compete with Qantas, and the roll-out of business class across all the Virgin Australia network. On 4 May 2011, the former Virgin Blue revealed its new name, Virgin Australia, as well as its new livery. 


On  the 18th March 2020, Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah announced the grounding of the equivalent of 53 planes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, effective 30th March. On the 21st April 2020, Virgin Australia confirmed it had gone into voluntary administration, citing its inability to continue operations without a Federal Government bailout. On the 26th June 2020, it was announced that Bain Capital had entered into a sale and implementation deed with administrator Deloitte to acquire Virgin Australia. Fast forward to today and more than half their fleet are parked up all over Australia and the Bain group have announced Virgin Australia will no longer be doing long haul flights so their A330's and B777's will be sold off and with around 20 B737's. In August 2020, Bain Capital announced the plan for a new 'Virgin Australia 2.0', signally that the move was more focused towards streamlining and refocusing Virgin Australia, rather than a complete overhaul. The announcement included the immediate retirement of their 8 ATR's, 6 Airbus A330 and 5  B777 fleet, in addition to the full shut down of the Tigerair brand.

Virgin Australia has just announced it will lease an additional nine Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, with deliveries to begin in October this year. The airline said the new aircraft will be welcomed ahead of an anticipated uptick in domestic travel demand, as the rate of vaccination increases and interstate borders inevitably open, and the holiday and summer travel season approaches.

While deliveries will begin in October, Virgin hopes to see all nine jets in the air by mid-February 2022.

Happy Birthday Virgin Australia I really hope you are around for another 21 yrs

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