I had the chance to speak with Virgin Blue (owners of V Australia) CEO Brett Godfrey at the V Australia launch on Friday, and he had plenty to say about V Australia’s future partnering plans, the subject we just recently discussed here.
For the first time, I bring you an Across the Aisle interview in video form. It’s less than four minutes, but you’ll hear Godfrey talk about Alaska, Virgin America, Northwest, and others. I found him to be quite knowledgeable about his business and friendly as well. His answers seemed genuine and not full of the PR-speak that I’m used to seeing. See for yourself, and be sure to come back after the video for my thoughts below.
I think Godfrey made a lot of sense in the video. V Australia wants to partner with anyone and everyone who can benefit them, and that’s a smart way to operate (similar to Alaska, actually). I’m glad to hear that the mystery of why they weren’t partnering with Virgin America has now been solved. It’s simply a technology issue that’s causing the delay, as suggested by commenter Ellis Taylor.
Virgin America was crowing about how great it was that they were doing a lot of their tech work in house, but I think it’s clear that the strategy has been quite problematic. There was never any question that they would want to codeshare with other Virgin airlines from the very beginning, so it now seems that the reservation system choice was a costly mistake.
Meanwhile, V Australia will continue to partner with everyone that makes sense for the airline. As I mentioned in the video, I could see a deal between them and Delta being a smart move. Their flight times are complementary and they could feed each other on both ends. Clearly, Godfrey seems up for that, but it will be interesting to see what happens next.
Click if you missed my overview of the Friday launch event.
Thanks for following up on this one, Cranky. From my past experience at Jetstar, it was systems issues that held up their codesharing with parties other than Qantas as the old OpenSkies system wasn’t designed for it. Now that they’ve gone with New Skies, they just announced that they will be doing interlining and a few codeshares. They were looking at doing a deal with Aloha before they collapsed for feed on the HNL services, so there could be an interesting story there later.
I hope you enjoyed the Aussie hospitality there. Brett’s always pretty upfront and doesn’t do a lot of spin, which is refreshing. In Australia, there’s a fair bit of anticipation for the launch of their flights, but I understand there hasn’t been a major push in the US yet. What’s the buzz there, Cranky?
Ellis – You’re right – there hasn’t been a massive push here, but I have started to see more signs of their arrival. The people that know they’re coming are excited to have another option, and plummeting fares always get good press. Still, I think V Australia will pull far more from Australia than the US since they have the Virgin Blue network behind them. That’s why I would like a deal with Delta – they have complementary flight times and they could feed each other on both ends.
reports emerging today that 400 Virgin Blue staff to be let go….some will surely be transferred to V Australia…but only a minority I would guess….cant think of a worse time for V australia to be launching…but not brave enough to second guess Branson!… http://ourmaninoz.com/2009/02/17/vaustralia-international-airline-australia/