Etihad and V Australia are extended their codesharing from their joint hub in Abu Dhabi, with Virgin flight numbers now listed against Etihad flights to Amman, Athens, Bahrain and Brussels.
Members of Virgin Blue's Velocity frequent flyer programme will be able to earn points and status on the new codeshare flights -- as will members of Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club and Virgin America's Elevate programmes, in the usual Virgin family reciprocal arrangements.
The new codeshares come only a few days after the final approval for Etihad and Air New Zealand to codeshare between Australia and Abu Dhabi, across the Tasman, domestically in NZ and on from Abu Dhabi to London.
It's yet another piece of the rapidly forming puzzle that's matching up Etihad, Air New Zealand and the Virgin Blue group -- a jigsaw that has also been rumoured to include Delta and at least one Asian airline, potentially including one or more currently unaligned Chinese carriers.
Amman is served by two daily return flights. From Abu Dhabi, the flight numbers are VA7513 and VA7515, while the return flights are VA7514 and VA7516.
Athens has a single daily return: VA7091 from Abu Dhabi and VA7090 back from Athens.
Bahrain gets four V Australia flights for the short hop to and from Abu Dhabi. From Abu Dhabi, the flights are VA7371, VA7375, VA7377, and VA7379. The return flights from Bahrain are VA7370, VA7372, VA7376 and VA7378.
Brussels will have two daily return flights: VA7055 and VA 7057 from Abu Dhabi and VA7056 and VA7058 in return.
Increasing linkups with international airlines are just part of the Virgin Game Change strategy that CEO John Borghetti is masterminding, which includes:
- a rebranding which will drop the 'Blue' and likely adopt Virgin Australia as the airline's new name
- Australia's first Boeing 737-800 with the futuristic Sky Interior
- new flights between Sydney and Perth starting May 26
- new seats in business class with large video screens and 62 inches of space
- a big revamp of Velocity Rewards, which includes a partnership with Coles' FlyBuys
- a lounge and fast-track system at Sydney Airport, plus upgrades for lounges at Brisbane and Melbourne, and new-build lounges at three other Australian airports
- new red, silver and purple uniforms for Virgin Blue flight attendants, and smart new suits for pilots too
- new meals on the plane from celebrity chef Luke Mangan
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.