Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia yesterday announced the first two milestones of their recently approved alliance: new international and domestic routes to Darwin and the launch of frequent flyer programme co-operation.
As part of a joint plan to increase services to northern Australia, Singapore Airlines’ regional full service airline, SilkAir, will begin a four-times-weekly service between Singapore and Darwin from 26 March 2012, and Virgin Australia will complement these services with a daily service between Sydney and Darwin from 2 April 20121.
The two airlines also confirmed that from 20 December this year, they would commence reciprocal frequent flyer recognition, enabling KrisFlyer members to earn and redeem frequent flyer points on Virgin Australia’s entire network and Velocity members to earn and redeem frequent flyer points on Singapore Airlines-operated flights2. Reciprocal lounge access is also available for eligible customers.
Singapore Airlines Executive Vice President Commercial and SilkAir Chairman, Mr Mak Swee Wah, said: “We are delighted to be adding Darwin to our network and providing more travel options for our customers as a result of our alliance with Virgin Australia. Our partnership enables us to better service this important market, particularly with the introduction of a strong business class product and extensive international connections.
“The launch of reciprocal frequent flyer programme ties will also be particularly exciting news for our loyal customers. Our partnership with Virgin Australia will be delivering tangible benefits to customers, with more choice for domestic and international travel combined with seamless service.”
Virgin Australia Group Executive of Alliances, Network & Yield Management, Ms Merren McArthur, said: “The alliance with Singapore Airlines enables us to open up important new routes in Australia and Asia and we have moved quickly to identify and realise this opportunity with our new partner.
“Darwin is the gateway to the Northern Territory’s popular tourist destinations and is an increasingly important commercial hub. Together with Singapore Airlines we will be able to offer visitors from Singapore, Asia and Europe the opportunity to visit the Northern Territory and then travel on to Sydney and the East Coast of Australia. Our services will also be attractive to business travellers who now have the option of a quality business class service from Sydney to Darwin and on to Singapore and beyond.
“From next week, Virgin Australia customers will be able to enjoy the first benefits of the alliance, with the ability to earn and burn frequent flyer points and status credits on Singapore Airlines’ network of destinations and access 14 lounges around the world. We look forward to bringing our customers further exciting benefits as the alliance develops,” Ms McArthur said.
Virgin Australia also announced that it would open a lounge at Darwin Airport that would accommodate eligible Virgin Australia guests and those of its alliance partners.
The two airlines expect to commence codesharing on each other’s services from early 2012.
When Singapore Airlines was formed in 1972, it operated a modest fleet of 10 aircraft to just 22 cities in 18 countries. With a commitment to fleet modernisation, product and service innovation and market leadership, the Airline quickly distinguished itself as a world-class carrier.
Today, Singapore Airlines operates a modern passenger fleet of more than 100 aircraft and its network, including Singapore Airlines Cargo and SilkAir destinations, covers a total of 103 destinations in 39 countries. Singapore Airlines serves five destinations in Australia - Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney – with 95 round-trip flights per week. In October 2007, Singapore Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance, made aviation history as the first to fly the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380.
Virgin Australia group of airlines (ASX: VAH), formerly the Virgin Blue group of airlines, was launched in 2000 as the first sustainable low-fare airline in Australian skies. It has established a global reputation as an innovator and leader in the aviation industry; renowned for the warmth of its people and the quality of the service they provide.
Starting out as a single airline operating a single route with just 200 team members, today the group employs over 7,000 people and includes Virgin Australia international and domestic airlines and Virgin Samoa, a joint venture with the Government of Samoa. Virgin Australia operates a fleet of modern Boeing 737, Boeing 777, Airbus A330, ATR-72 Turboprop and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to Australian and international destinations including the USA, UAE, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.