Virgin Australia is looking to make the most of its alliance with Singapore Airlines by introducing codeshare flights to India with SQ's regional offshoot SilkAir.
A Virgin Australia spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that seven SilkAir services between Singapore and India have been earmarked for Virgin Australia codesharing, as listed in the global distribution system (GDS) used by travel agents and reported by Airline Route.
The Indian destinations are Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram.
Airline Route expects these flights to be offered "In the near term", noting that the "Singapore – India service remains subject to Government Approval, therefore reservation is not (yet) available".
Virgin already operates a codeshare with SilkAir's new Singapore-Darwin service, which began on March 26, along with Singapore Airlines flights to Singapore, China and South Africa.
Virgin Australia already provides what's known as 'interline travel' on Singapore Airlines’ network to selected ports in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
What's the difference between interline and codeshare? To be honest, not that much from the passenger's perspective: most of the key differences are behind the scenes and relate to the back-office functions of airlines and how travel agents see and sell those flights.
Under an interline arrangement an airline sells another airline's flights on their behalf. Codesharing means they can market the other airline's flight as if it's their own – which is why you'll see VA (Virgin Australia international) flight numbers listed on codeshared flights with Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Air New Zealand, for example.
In both interline and codeshare your bag will be through-tagged to your final destination, with onward boarding passes issued wherever it's possible.