View Full Version : Air Pacific Cops Flak From Virgin

15th Jan 2003, 04:53
Wed "The Australian"

The Australian

VIRGIN BLUE has attacked an application by Fiji-based Air Pacific to join the Qantas alliance as an attempt to "completely stitch up" the South Pacific market.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission confirmed yesterday that Air Pacific, 46 per cent owned by Qantas and 51 per cent by the Fiji government, has lodged a formal authorisation application about joining the alliance.

ACCC commissioner Ross Jones said the application was expected, given the Pacific carrier's links to Qantas, but was a bigger issue for New Zealand than Australia.

"Given that Qantas has 46 per cent, we always thought of Air Pacific as part of the arrangement," Mr Jones said.

"It's an issue for the New Zealanders because Air New Zealand and Air Pacific both fly from Auckland to Fiji. But if you want to go from Australia to Fiji , you go with Air Pacific and Qantas code shares. "

But Virgin Blue described the Air Pacific submission as ominous.

"This confirms to Virgin Blue that the travelling public should be worried about a complete stitch-up of the South Pacific market," Virgin Blue head of commercial David Huttner said.

"The further damage to competition in the region only reaffirms the need for significant structural undertakings if we are to avoid long-term damage to sustainable competition. "

Air Pacific is a significant player in the Pacific islands, and said last year it planned to replace its Boeing 747-200 this year with two 747-400s as part of an ambitious plan that would boost capacity by 60 per cent -- or 1.25 million seats annually.

The new aircraft, to be used on the Sydney-Nadi-Los Angeles routes, were part of a $F1 billion ($1.19 billion) fleet expansion plan that would also require extra 250 to 300-seat aircraft.

Meanwhile, Mr Jones said the ACCC would quickly post Qantas undertakings expected as early as next week on its website so that interested parties could see them before making submissions on the proposed alliance.

The airline has indicated the undertakings will seek to protect new entrants on trans-Tasman and domestic New Zealand routes and ensure the alliance did not take unreasonable actions relating to capacity and pricing on monopoly routes.

Mr Jones said he expected Qantas to submit broad statements of intent that would form a starting point for legally enforceable undertakings to be negotiated at a later date.

Z Force
15th Jan 2003, 08:19
Whinge, whinge, whinge and more whinging. Haven't these tosser's at Virgin got anything more constructive to do with their time? Trying to make themselves look like the little Aussie battler. I'm sick of listening to their whinging all the time.

15th Jan 2003, 09:20
Z Force

Do you reckon one airline servicing the pacific is good for everyone.
Anytime Virgin says anything it's called whinging. They are not whinging, they are stating their concerns. Are people getting worried about their jobs on the other side. Virgin knocked off Impulse, then Ansett and now gunning for Qantas. Every percentage of market share rise is a percentage drop for Qantas.
The only tosser whinging are people like you, the ones who feel threatened.

15th Jan 2003, 09:40
I agree with HGW, the market should be open to all , it's called competion and let it work it self out in due course. For the paying passanger it must be good for Virgin to start pacific operations.

Buster Hyman
15th Jan 2003, 12:00
If you're worried about competition on routes you don't operate, put a BLUDDY aircraft on it & create competition!

Otherwise, STFU .

15th Jan 2003, 14:53
Buster.... you'd be interested to note they just might very very soon be putting a BLUDDY a/c on the route...;)

Buster Hyman
15th Jan 2003, 22:45
Godfrey's SOP.

Whinge about how unfair something is, and then go there in a blaze of glory, proclaiming how good you are for the punters! The free publicity machine rolls on, just proving the gullibility of the media & the punters.

15th Jan 2003, 22:53
What's the problem?

DJ want to try and prevent consolidation in practice (QF/NZ tie-up), best way to do that is stop the (political) decision by the competition regulators to allow it, best way to influence politicians is to mobilise public opinion, or at least get the issue in the media.

And so far, two big issues (Air Pacific/QF codeshare, United AKL exit).

Wouldn't you do the same if you were Virgin? I would. And if you were Qantas, wouldn't you say that the UA withdrawal shows the need for consolidation? I would.

Self interest beats conspiracy theories any day. Why winge about normal behaviour? The end result is (eventually) the customer probably benefits. Can take a damn long time, though.

Buster Hyman
16th Jan 2003, 01:40
Haven't QF & Air Pacific been codesharing for a number of years already? Why is it an issue now? Weren't they codesharing when QF had a stake in ANZ, prior to the AN fiasco?

Alliances are not new to this industry, neither is codesharing. QF are faced with a competitor with significantly lower costs, why shouldn't they consolidate their market share? Unless DJ are operating the route, surely it's none of their business, otherwise, why aren't they complaining about FRA-DUS, or somewhere else in the world?

Okay, if they are about to enter the market, so be it. If you've got the better product, price & service, you'll make money. Unless, of course, they were planning to take on a weak Pacific airline & cream them and now QF have stolen their thunder?

rescue 1
16th Jan 2003, 04:12
I agree Buster...nothing new here about alliances.

As for Virgin, have they not tied up most of the Australian terminals to prevent any further competition? Interesting to see if there is a Santa clause and another operator starts...

I should have hired there spin Doctor for my last medical.

16th Jan 2003, 08:42
It would be great to see a third entrant in Australian skies......just to keep the air fair of course!

16th Jan 2003, 09:44
Thanks Z Force and Buster Hyman, couldn't agree more with your comments!
I too am sick to death of hearing Virgin whinge day in and day out. They'd whinge if they had nothing to whinge about.