Company Watch - Virgin Group.


New York (AirGuideBusiness - Company Watch) Dec 13, 2009

Delta Air Lines said the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission granted authorization for its proposed joint venture with Virgin Blue to operate flights between Australia and the US. "Delta and [Virgin Blue subsidiary] V Australia are eager to move forward with their joint venture and to bring new services to the market," DL said. "We look forward to a similar decision from the US Dept. of Transportation and urge the DOT to quickly conclude its review." Dec 11, 2009

V Australia launched twice-weekly Melbourne-Los Angeles service on Sunday and will begin weekly MEL-Phuket on Dec. 3 aboard a 777-300. Dec 1, 2009

Virgin Atlantic is considering offering in-flight connectivity on new-delivery aircraft from 2011. The carrier recently launched an online poll to gauge passenger interest in connectivity, asking if they would prefer web browsing capabilities built into the seat-back in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, unfettered access to the Internet, and/or a GSM/GPRS solution. The carrier received a mixed bag of responses. Company head of product and service Chris Birch says the first opportunity that Virgin Atlantic will have "to do anything about this" is 2011, when new aircraft are delivered. According to AirGuideAircraftOs database, Virgin Atlantic has standing orders for six Airbus A380s, six A340s, four A330s and 15 Boeing 787s. Virgin Atlantic in 2002 started offering widebody passengers Arinc's short messaging service over installed IFE systems. The service was developed in association with Tenzing, which later became part of the OnAir joint venture. Dec 2, 2009

Australia's competition watchdog has formally confirmed that it will authorize the joint venture between Virgin Blue's V Australia and Delta Air Lines for trans-Pacific routes. Under the joint venture, the carriers can take a coordinated approach to issues such as pricing, revenue management, schedules, capacity, and routes, says the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The confirmation was expected after the ACCC's 2 November draft determination stating its approval of the joint venture. Dec 10, 2009

Virgin Blue is interested in purchasing Boeing 737-900ERs as part of a larger Boeing 737 order. "We think the 737 is the perfect aeroplane for Australia in all its variants. The -900 holds some appeal, at the right price obviously," says Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey. In September the Australian carrier announced it was looking to order upwards of 50 737s. The -900ER can seat 25 more passengers in a single-class configuration than the Boeing 737-800, the next largest aircraft in the 737 family. Virgin Blue operates Boeing 737-700s and -800s in addition to Embraer regional jets. Dec 2, 2009

Earlier this week it became known that billionaire Richard Branson's space shuttle OSpaceShipTwoO will take tourists into space. Branson's Virgin Galactic has chosen two space ports, from where tourists will be send-off into space. One port is located in New Mexico, United States, the other is Sweden Spaceport, in Kiruna, northern Sweden. Initial testing of the composite spacecraft, expected to begin next year, will include captive carry, glide tests, rocket-powered lift and expansion of the envelope, heading toward first operations some time in 2011 or later. If everything goes as planned, space tourist may flock to Kiruna already within a few years. Dec 10, 2009

SpaceShipTwo was presented to the world in Mojave, California. The vehicle will undergo testing over the next 18 months before being allowed to take ticketed individuals on short-hop trips just above the atmosphere. Billionaire Sir Richard, who heads the Virgin Group, intends to run the first flights out of New Mexico before extending operations around the...

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