Etihad - Virgin Blue partnership officially approved
The combined network enables Australian passengers a better connection to Europe, Middle East and Africa via Etihad's Abu Dhabi hub. Direct flights from Sydney commencing February.
The joint pricing and scheduling agreement has been officially granted permission last week.
The combined network of 110 destinations
66 destinations serviced by Etihad Airways are now fully available for passengers from Australia. In addition to 44 destinations across Australia, New Zealand an the Pacific Islands, the agreement enables Virgin Blue customers to benefit from a better connection towards the Middle East.
The Virgin Blue group is establishing a hub in Abu Dhabi. Upon opening, 14 European destinations will become a one-stop alternative to flights via London Heathrow (LHR). Direct flights Sydney Kingsford Smith (SYD) – Abu Dhabi International (AUH) operated by V Australia are available starting February. It is the first Australia based airline to serve a Middle East destination in 20 years.
ACCC regulatory approval granted
ACCC stands for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The terms of the cooperation agreement had to be examined regarding market competition. Considering the airlines do not currently compete on any routes, nothing stood in the way for the official approval. The authorization has been granted for five years. Virgin Blue now improves its position against the main competitor – Jetstar Airways.
Jiří Parimucha, Feb 7, 2011
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