"More flights at the same price" -- that's the Virgin Australia recipe for soaking up once-loyal Qantas business travellers during the Red Roo's ongoing industrial turmoil.
Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti has pledged "there will be no change to our pricing strategy" as the challenger airline adds new flights in lieu of cancelled Qantas services.
Virgin will boost its capacity by some 3,000 seats per week through to the end of October, while the 20 December launch of a fifth daily return service between Melbourne and Perth will introduce a further 2,300 seats per week to the cross-country route.
Borhgetti also says that Virgin is "well advanced in discussions with alliance partners Etihad Airways and Air New Zealand on providing extra capacity from November... we will continue to work with all of our alliance partners who are keen to help us support the Australian travelling public, both domestically and internationally."
Qantas has axed around 130 flights per week from its new strike timetable, "mainly between eastern states and Perth," a spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller. The spokesperson confirmed the new timetable would remain in place "for at least a month".
Borghetti is keen to trumpet Virgin's march in the other direction. "Over the last three months, we have increased our capacity around Australia, adding more than 31,000 seats each week, including expanding our presence in the very important Perth market where we have introduced wide body aircraft and Business Class seats" he said.
"We have 31,000 seats to Perth every week, with the Business Class product available on board all flights from the East Coast."
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.