Fresh out of administration, Virgin Australia has revealed its future direction under new management. As expected, under new CEO Jayne Hrdlicka, the airline will be targetting the mid-market. While that had previously been flagged, we now have a much better sense of what that means.
At a high level, we can expect:
- Remaining lounges to re-open from today
- On-board, passengers will be able to choose from Business, Economy and Economy-X
- No change to Velocity Frequent Flyer with substantial airline and non-airline earn and redemption opportunities for its 10 million members
- Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) retained and restructured
- Significant technology investment planned to upgrade customer experience
What to expect
From today, the lounges will begin to reopen. At least for those that will be reopening. The lounges in Mackay, Cairns, and Darwin will be closing due to “low visitation rates”.
This leaves the following lounges in the network
- Gold Coast
Brisbane will be the first lounge to reopen, with the rest opening as demand increases. The all-new Adelaide lounge is expected to open in the first quarter of 2021.
Virgin Australia will be retaining a Business cabin, although they are still working through the detail of the product offering.
While we will hear more next year, for now, they are just saying that it will “better align to the expectations of the cabin’s core customers.”
In economy, passengers will revert to a new buy onboard offering. As a result, the current “snack” will be no more. It’s not all bad though – coffee, tea and water will still be offered.
Passengers will still be able to choose Economy-X, with its extra legroom, and dedicated overhead luggage area.
The future of in-flight wifi and entertainment is not clear at the moment. This is apparently still under review, and again we will find out more in the new year,
Velocity Frequent Flyer
There is not a lot of news on the Frequent Flyer front. The program will be staying pretty much as it is at the moment. In particular, the current earn and burn rates will remain in place.
Having said that, there is a promise of additional partners coming on board next year.
The good news in all of this is that it is not as bad as many had feared. In many ways, it seems to be a continuation of where they had been planning to take the airline anyway.