View Full Version : Virgin's Airline of the Future project

18th Sep 2009, 06:40
Virgin Blue's 'Airline of the Future' project will change everything

September 16, 2009 – 10:46 pm, by Ben Sandilands in Crikey.com

A glimpse of where Virgin Blue expects to be within five years was given by its co-founder and CEO, Brett Godfrey today when he told the aviation media it has a previously secret ‘airline of the future’ unit working on its renewal and growth.

Some features of that future will be:

A single brand for V Australia, Virgin Blue and Pacific Blue,
The offering of ultra low fares and a more spacious economy product on the same aircraft
A wireless, paperless, portable device based process for booking flights, checking in, making changes, and earning and tracking loyalty points and status, and
Internet on all flights
But before that happened V Australia’s contribution to profits would outstrip that of Virgin Blue’s domestic operations.

Godfrey then signed contracts with the management of Emirates in Australia to put the V Australia code on its A380 and 777 flights between Sydney and Melbourne and Auckland from 25-26 October, a move that leaves its own Pacific Blue services untouched.

In a clear sign that Virgin Blue was exploiting the tensions between the Qantas full service and Jetstar budget priced brands, he said Virgin Blue now flew more departures each day on domestic routes than either Qantas brand, and almost as many as Qantas mainline and Jetstar combined.

“We are the only airline to offer a premium product on all of our domestic flights,” he said. “And we are the only Australian carrier to offer a fully flat business class bed on all of our flights to America, as in fully flat, not angled flat, or wedgied flat.”

It would extend premium economy seating to all Pacific Blue operations, which are trans Tasman, NZ domestic and regional Pacific and SE Asia in scope. And premium economy would itself be upgraded in the near future.

Godfrey said it was simply wrong to declare that some routes were only leisure and others only business, when it fact there were always people disposed to buy a premium product to any destination and it was better to offer them a buying opportunity on every flight.

He said Virgin Blue had deliberately put itself in the middle of the market by choice, and was not trapped in a pincer movement between the low cost models like Jetstar and Tiger and the legacy full service high cost model of Qantas.

Godfrey said Virgin Blue always expected another low cost airline to enter the Australian market and saw its remaining in that territory as the real trap it escaped from in its early years.

He described a head on conflict between two low cost carriers like Jetstar and Tiger in a market the size of Australia as being like trench war fare.

“It’s a contest about who can lose the most money,” he said. “Our opportunities to make good margins are much better in the middle than at the extremities of low cost where there is no customer loyalty to anything but price.”

He also predicted that in the future the pure low cost carrier carriers typified by Ryanair would be seen as ‘legacy’ LCCs, clinging to a one size fits all formula that was vulnerable to the flexibility of low cost base higher quality products such as Virgin Blue’s new world carrier format concept, which would also experience change.

Looking further into the future, maybe 10 years, Godfrey saw the trend to trade liberalisation eventually lessen the sheltering of national airline brands by governments.

This could, and he stressed, hypothetically, lead to the likes of Singapore Airlines and Qantas merging. “I say tongue firmly in cheek, but do not dismiss the prospect of, Virgin Blue one day buying out Qantas….as the world becomes more accepting of free trade…and the value of regional consolidations and trade offs overcome the resistance to deals affecting national brands.”

Interesting, now let the fur fly.

18th Sep 2009, 07:05
So, are they hinting they will move to full service? Or are they going to stick with the whole pay as you go?

We are the only airline to offer a premium product on all of our domestic flights,”

A little bit off the mark there I think! Premium Economy is hardly a premium product, but if they say it too will receive an upgrade, then that is good news!

porch monkey
18th Sep 2009, 08:29
Unless of course you're lucky enough to be on the bandit......

18th Sep 2009, 10:04
The article somewhere was talking about investigating the possibility of adding another row of seats behind the exit row on domestic A/C. The seat pitch on the 737-700's is so tight now you would practically need a shoe horn to squeeze in and out of the seat if they added another row (Try sitting anywhere behind the exit row in a 700 on a SYD-PER sector). The 800's and embraer's seat pitch doesn't seem to be as bad.:hmm:

18th Sep 2009, 22:10
After a recent trip on VB then Vaust, I think they have along way to go to be able to call there services premium!!! I think Godfrey should stop trying to reinvent the wheel, and try to fix the products that they actually have running now !!!

18th Sep 2009, 23:34
The seat pitch on the 737-700's is so tight now you would practically need a shoe horn to squeeze in and out of the seat if they added another row "

Agree if they went as tight as Tiger it would hurt their brand. AirNZ tried that on the 737-300 in the rear and retreated about 2 years ago.

Fir the 737-700 is there an issue with pax to CC ratios in Aust? I thought the dispensation only applied to the -800.

This raised 2 questions to me. 1) Will DJ shift towards to 737-800 with their upcoming order and hence the -700 seating issue becomes less significant?

2) Assuming CC ratio issues do not present a regulatory problem, could they drop one of the two rear toilets (3 in total at the moment) and get three extra seats that way? I have seen that on some A319 floor plans.(AirNZ has 2 toilets to 144 PAX on the A320 in the economy cabin). Remove some gallery space, relocate the other rear toilet and they get a full row.

18th Sep 2009, 23:51
A not too "unfami - liar" CEO statement ....
........does adding more seat capacity = dumping Premium Y, yet the talk is about enhanced premium service...... bit of a paradox.
Added to this the blurring of the brand and sub-brands and the EK offset deal.

........and the 'trade liberalisation' reference ......... unless the plan is to operate the 'future airline(s)' with offshore crew from third world countries, why would anyone currently operating in Australian skies want to throw open the doors.

This is nothing more than the kind of seat of the pants, Branson style B.S. that makes shareholders, investors and creditors nervous and has previously hurt DJ.

DJ is a great LCC with a t'riffic potential in that sector - wish Godfrey would stop trying to bugger it up.

Rule 1: Don't go to market until the product is ready to sell

Rule 2: Know which market you want and stay with the game plan


PS: Can someone in the BNE bunker pls tell him that QF is doing a great job stuffing its own market and products and at the current rate of decline and it certainly does not need any help.

19th Sep 2009, 00:06

slight meander to another thread, but DJ can operate 1:50 across the 737 fleet - exemptions were reissued by CASA 1 week prior to their expiry a few months ago.

The ratio renewals were "automatic" and did not review the Ops Manual which still has CC moving against pax flow to the overwing in a land evac. - contray to directives by Boeing, FAA and just about everyone else including CASA.

The new 20:16:3 NPRM will require a full safety case and ratios are determined by total number of seats not total pax.

Any increase in seat capacity under the new regime would require full review including evac demo and much closer scrutiny (i.e. opening and reading) of the Ops Manual by the regulator. The safety case also would require whole of duty/day of ops consideration of the CC which also includes fatigue/rest and inflight duties.

Must say that last time I sat in a chokkas DJ 700 I felt very uneasy about the thought of having to get out if it all went pear shaped.

19th Sep 2009, 01:21
QANTAS & Jetstar could also go down a similar path with the A380's.
QF has the lower deck for First, Business & Premium Economy.
JQ has the upper deck with JQ service.

Don't laugh it could happen. :cool:

19th Sep 2009, 02:05
airtags - your information is not factually correct.

VB do not operate 1:50 on B737-700 - it's only done on B737-800 (4 crew) - the excemption is only valid on that aircraft type.

The same excemption currently exists for Qantas for B737-800 - refer to CASA 320/09 and 321/09.

The same excemption currently exists for Jetstar on A320.

Crew do not "go against the flow" to overwing exists - crew responsabilities in an emergency are their own primary doors. The overwing exits are opened by the ABP's sitting at the overwing - as per the excemptions there must be a minimum of 2 ABP's in each overwing exit row (block of 3 seats) and they are provided with a CASA approved brief by crew prior to take-off.

In the second part of your post I assume you're referring to CASA project 01/09 which is the review of CAO20.16.3 - as per the CASA website that project is still on going and the "requirements" you've quoted below appear to be not yet decided by CASA.

I'm certainly not saying I agree with the proposed changes however at least make an effort to post factual information.

19th Sep 2009, 03:34
I heard a rumor that VB were looking at B777-200s for major trunk routes in a two class config (375?) to be operated by VA crew, fewer 737s and more of the light twins. This will allow more bums for per slot and utilise the existing structure for greater efficiency.

19th Sep 2009, 04:43
Problem is there are no Cat D gates in T2 on the VB side so even B767s are too big for almost all of their gates hence it is a rumour only.

19th Sep 2009, 05:46
loved your idea of the A380 being dual branded - could imagine the barbed wire barriers on the staircase! - bit like the locked gates between steerage and the first deck on the Titantic!

not wishing to detour the thread any further but......statements are correct - FYI:

1. just re-checked the CC's manual - L2P after opening L2 in land evac then proceeds to o'wing which hopefully has been opened by the well briefed pax -(but unless there's another aisle, L2P is moving against the pax flow evac'ing)

2. 20:16:3 is indeed listed as you state on the website - however the minutes of the project (which are not on the website) are as per my post. Provided the safety case requirement is not watered down during the CASA legal sign off of the CAAP it will be a good thing for all concerned especially CC who don't have any FRMS either.

3. Exemptions issued are applicable to 700's & 800's - this was the flawed "by type variation" provision that the new 20:16:3 reforms specifically preclude. - And as you said just about everyman and his dog with an AOC has one including QF and JQ & Co; and of course there is the disparity with foreign AOC's (real and defacto) not having to comply under current arrangements.

Mate the key thing with all this stuff is that ALL airlines are looking to squeeze more pax in & onto existing a/c types at stupidly low fares and then in turn slash wages, T&C's and put Aussie pilots and CC's out of work. - I don't believe that this philosophy is either sustainable, healthy for employment or in some cases, safe. - Future risk is that a/c manuafacturers will make it a higher design priority and stage their certification tests specifically with the objective of stuffing more people in and reducing crew.

I'm sure we all can agree it's a vicious circle.
Detour ends

19th Sep 2009, 12:16
9 years on they're still going strong

LOL, I almost fell of my chair..........:ok:

20th Sep 2009, 01:13
Mr Hat, I disagree. The last few flights I have had with both VB and Vaust, we have had nothing but troubles. Very disorganised, and lots of fuss, and all the stupid little games that Vb like to play, and nobody likes.Trying to be funny during the safety briefs etc are not what a "so called premium product" should be doing.
Its due to all this rubbish and games with VB that the low cost airlines are doing so well. You get on, get nothing ( unless you pay for it) and get to the destination with the minimum of fuss.
I think Godfrey should be trying to fix the problem he has, VB , before he goes and tries something else.

20th Sep 2009, 06:09
I think mr pig is speaking out of his snout.

20th Sep 2009, 07:07
Hey Cap

I would quit now. You are only going to look more stupid.:ugh:

rescue 1
20th Sep 2009, 10:05
The idea is flawed and has been tried by a number of other carriers and failed.

Wonder if it is a smoke screen to hide behind while the real plan gets established?? :confused:

20th Sep 2009, 20:38
erneyskgann, not sure how you can comment like that??!! As a very regular flyer,(having been comuting to work for many yrs now) I am stating what has happened on my last few flights with VB. ie Facts !!! So unless you have something relevant to say, I would stick to playing your flightsim on the computer, and leave discussions like this for the grown ups...

my oleo is extended
21st Sep 2009, 12:19
VB`s supposed future model is unsustainable.No carrier has or will pull off a mid service carrier. You are either LCC or a Top End Provider.
Godfrey changes his mind like he changes facial hair styles. He wanted initially just an LCC, then a middle of the range carrier, then an ultra LCC, whats next ?
He has ridden the airline from a roughly $2.60 launch down to $0.28, and currently around $0.38. Pathetic management and leadership, yet the loyalists and foolish investors who are blinded by his rants of 'fairness and goodwill to all' keep allowing him to exist ?
Well at least The Board have a brain, they have recently overseen the exit of a couple of useless Seniors at VB, and a few months ago gave Godfrey the ultimatum - 12 months and your out. Thats right, it wasnt his decision, its just that his ego is so huge that he wont leave the mess he has created, keeps hanging on trying to fix the unfixable to save face.A few weeks back The Board gave him til Xmas to go, cut back his time because of the damage and financial mess that he is causing mounts up by the day. But of course this will be denied, and naturally an announcement of some sort to say he is 'leaving to pursue other dreams or goals' will be next. Spin Spin Spin.
VB as it stands cannot compete with JQ`s minimal staff and structure on the LCC front, full stop. And although QF has itself become a joke, it is still a better performer when it comes to premium service than VB`s half hearted attempt. The longer VB straddles the fence between services, the more money they will continue to lose my friends.
Wake up staff, wake up public, your being fooled.

22nd Sep 2009, 03:31
VB as it stands cannot compete with JQ`s minimal staff and structure on the LCC front, full stop. And although QF has itself become a joke, it is still a better performer when it comes to premium service than VB`s half hearted attempt. The longer VB straddles the fence between services, the more money they will continue to lose my friends.

Last time I check the annual report it was the "Middle of the road" Viregin Blue operation (DJ) making the money and the "Full Servcie" carrier losing it. (VA)

porch monkey
24th Sep 2009, 00:30

24th Sep 2009, 21:09
T7???...Pardon my ignorance.

24th Sep 2009, 21:27
Layout Of Personal Accommodation???

24th Sep 2009, 23:32
Needabiggerhammer, your full of it!! say something usefull, not cryptic crap or stay of the forum please :ugh::ugh:

25th Sep 2009, 04:00
LOPA = LayOut Passenger Arrangement

25th Sep 2009, 10:06
Lots Of Pilot Aggression!

25th Sep 2009, 22:05
He's not in town just for the barbie.....
He will be doing a lot of promo for Virgin Money as they have some racing car comp with him going at the moment.

26th Sep 2009, 03:32
He is in Aus for the launch of Virgin Car Insurance.

26th Sep 2009, 22:46
Why do you people always complain about the bosses ie SRB. Mate youv'e got a job don't you, right then if you don't like piss off and get another one.

26th Sep 2009, 23:03
Cactusjack :ok:

27th Sep 2009, 04:22
Cactusjack ... hilarious :ok::ok:

27th Sep 2009, 20:36
Yet another thread turns into a competition between two children about the comparative size of their genitalia and who is more right than the other. This whole forum is going down-hill. It is frustrating looking through all this rubbish to find the 5% of good useful information and grown-up discussions that would be expected on a forum centred around a 'profession'. I wonder if there is a medicine forum, or a law forum that has posts by people that clearly don't know each other, slanging each other off and comparing the size of their bits? :yuk:
:( Bye Prune, off to Anet with the adults. :zzz:

27th Sep 2009, 23:37
Here, here sum1 :D i too am finding myself looking at this web site less and less. Grow up boys!:ugh:

30th Sep 2009, 01:57
Well we just better wait till SRB turns up on Wednesday for our Birthday celebrations... He's not in town just for the barbie.....

Today is the day! I wonder if we'll get an announcement about something??

30th Sep 2009, 02:35
Yep..His Bank he had to open to store all his money he makes from tightening all his workers wages!! Except for the top cats of course!!

Section28- BE
30th Sep 2009, 02:46
1. Car Insurance

2. Inspected a "fair/fare" sized Boat at Newcastle- platform for a Submarine Venture "Virgin Marine/Maritime" or some such............. deep sea exploration.

3. Will be inspecting work on Makepiece Island (behind Noosa).

4. Hosting a Birthday BBQ/Party????.

Virgin Team in Aus- always looking/assessing opportunities to make a difference and bring some fun (or word to that effect).

Has some fellow who won a competition and has been rolling with him since the Singapore F1- driving him around on the Aus visit, stay tuned for the big breaking news & developments, I guess????

S28- BE