At SYD at the moment and saw a Virgin Australia 777 under the call sign Velocity 9949 to SIN.

17 replies

jet_setter

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

Member since 01 Feb 2015

Total posts 125

At SYD at the moment and saw a Virgin Australia 777 under the call sign Velocity 9949 to SIN. Is this a regular service? I'm assuming not considering the 4 number F# on an Intl route...

Hayden

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Jan 2015

Total posts 94

I know that Virgin used to get the maintenance on their 777's done in SIA a few years ago, so perhaps that is the case?

Tagentjay

VA

Member since 10 Sep 2014

Total posts 19

I can recall seeing recently a service AUH - KUL under an EY code operated by VA in the GDS? May have an even been a 77W.... 

flex737

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 02 Mar 2013

Total posts 10

Correct. Scheduled heavy maintenance time. Hence why the thrice weekly SYD-AUH has been replaced by Etihad services for the month. 

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

Wow. And this is Australia's second and main competitor airline. On the facts alone, what does it say when it needs another airline to replace its service when aircraft is undergoing maintenance?

I appreciate the existence of Virgin Australia but something like this just shows it's not quite on par with Qantas (yet).

watson374

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 17 Aug 2012

Total posts 1,285

RaptorNation158

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 21 Aug 2014

Total posts 186

I think it's beause Qantas is the world's second oldest airline and an iconic Australian airline, so I think they are more pressured to keep operations home.

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Jan 2013

Total posts 162

Let's clarify some facts, to help answer some contentions here. It's important to understand that while VA may fly domestic and international services under the one brand, their significant domestic services operate within their own company (VIRGIN AUSTRALIA AIRLINES PTY LTD) and under their own AOC (Air Operator's Certificate, in this case BN567591), that is legally separate from their much smaller international services company (VIRGIN AUSTRALIA INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES PTY LTD) that also operates under seperate AOC (1-B1EYB).

It is true that VIRGIN AUSTRALIA AIRLINES PTY LTD is the direct competitor to QANTAS' domestic business, but that does not hold for  VIRGIN AUSTRALIA INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES PTY LTD which operates a much smaller footprint than QFi (Qantas International). Given the disparity between the resources of the international operations, VAi is not QFi's direct competitor by size or scope.

Simply put, VAi doesn't have the scale necessary to have it's own organic deep engineering facilities, whereas QFi does (although they have sought to move more work offshore too in recent years). Nor do VAi have spare birds aplenty, unlike QFi who usually have a couple of reserve 747s on tap to cover A380 fall-overs etc

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

That is a technicality and as technicalities goes, it's an awfully good one. Nevertheless as a complete product proposition, it is one and the same in the public eye, particularly when there was concerted management action to re-brand V Australia to Virgin Australia.

Appreciate the history and extent of Virgin's operation but this example merely demonstrates that we're talking about competitors who are not yet on an equal footing.

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Jan 2013

Total posts 162

From a marketing point, I agree with you TheRealBabushka, to Joe Public they are seen by their group brand rather than their legal corporate identities (much as Qantas was, when it too operated under a number of corporate entities and AOCs). As you'll recall, the only reason the trading names V Australia (and Virgin Blue for that matter) existed was due to naming restrictions put on VA by it's external airline shareholders at the time - once those naming restriction agreements were rescinded, Virgin Australia became the brand and company names.

The history here simply provides context as to why one airline has the Qantas Sale Act and one does not (or two if we are including Jetstar), and why one airline is much larger than the other with respect to it's international arm. I'm glad you found it interesting, and was simply to provide background, as I would agree with the statement that QFi and VAi are not the same, and are apples and oranges for the most part.

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Jan 2013

Total posts 162

Also worth pointing out that Qantas' International arm has been in operation since 1935, and was bought out by the Federal government in 1947, and thus benefited significantly from over 40 years of direct taxpayer support before the first major privatisation took place in 1993 (finally completed by public float in 1995).

It's those long years of direct taxpayer support that resulted in the requirements specified in the Qantas Sale Act, for Qantas to return direct benefits back to this country by ensuring that a significant bulk of it's operations continued to be done in Australia. VA never received such largesse from the taxpayer, hence it has no such return of obligation duty on it.

QF is a long established international airline (ironically, while it has had historic domestic operations, it never was a major domestic airline until it bought TAA off the Federal government in 1992, which brought back massively expanded domestic operations that Qantas last ran in 1947), and VAi is not. It's only thanks to VAi's airline partnerships that it can compete in scale with QFi, as It has a much smaller international aircraft fleet itself.

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Jan 2013

Total posts 162

To note, when Qantas wants to get around the obligations of the Qantas Sale Act, it has and continues to simply put Jetstar on the route. With Jetstar, Qantas offshores freely. This is why the Qantas group has grown Jetstar, while QF has shrunk it's network somewhat.

riley

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 19 Mar 2014

Total posts 358

I like Gippsflyer's point that Qantas have been built off government support. They have large cash reserves and even at the low point of their writedowns, still had a very healthy balance sheet. The downside of this is the legacy government inefficiencies and ridiculous / unsustainable workplace agreements. 

I don't see a huge issue with a temporary subsitution of the SYD > AUH service to Etihad. It's already a codeshare route, it's probably a forerunner for the future when VA pull out of that route and it's better than a 738 with a stopover!

Side note, I believe all VA A330s and 777s go to Singapore for heavy maint.

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 10 Jan 2013

Total posts 162

I agree with you Riley, and you raise an excellent and important issue about how Qantas' government past continues to bring it problems (particularly IR). I had a partner who used to work at Qantas and I was surprised at how in some respects it still much like the public service (history has a long reach obviously).

VA got to start with a fresh sheet, Qantas didn't have such freedom, when they started to compete. Even Jetstar is influenced by it's parent, so this strategy of Qantas' to get its own fresh sheet business still isn't so unmarked.

Ozshanel

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 08 Dec 2014

Total posts 9

I've never understood why Qantas gets given such a hard time for doing a small proportion of its heavy maintenance overseas, but it is perfectly fine for Virgin (and frankly every other airline on the planet) to do ALL of their heavy maintenance overseas.

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