Virgin Australia's new owners Bain Capital have mapped out the mid-market flight path for the rescued and rebooted airline, although many details remain to be resolved.
Bain's blueprint will see Virgin target travellers "who want a more premium experience at an affordable and competitive price."
"Australia already has a low-cost-carrier and a traditional full-service airline, and we won’t be either," said newly-minted CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.
"Virgin Australia will be a mid-market carrier appealing to customers who are after a great value airfare and better service."
The airline's new focus will centre on giving passengers "what they value without the big price tag: premium lounges, a new and fresh retail offering onboard, a choice of cabins, better digital technology and a more streamlined check-in experience."
Here's what we know so far.
Business class under review
Business class will be revamped "to better align to the expectations of the cabin’s core customers."
This will involve "a complete an end-to-end review of the Business Class offering" aimed at making the premium cabin "more accessible", with Virgin's new business class proposition to launch in 2021.
The airline says its target market includes "price conscious corporate travellers" and small- to medium-sized businesses, along with "premium leisure travellers."
As tipped by Executive Traveller in October, Virgin will remove complimentary meals and snacks in economy class from early 2021 in favour of a 'buy on board' menu, although "customers will continue to be offered complimentary tea, coffee and water."
Inflight WiFi, which remains switched off on Virgin's Boeing 737s, is also "under review", along with inflight entertainment.
Fewer lounges, but a fresh look coming
Most of Virgin's airport lounges will eventually reopen, but when that happens is TBA. Virgin says this will be in line with demand, including the easing of border restrictions.
However, "due to low visitation" the Darwin, Cairns and Mackay lounges will will be scrapped. These join the previously-reported closures of Alice Springs, Perth T2 and Wellington.
That leaves Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast as the six remaining lounges in a network which was once twice the size.
Intriguingly, Virgin says its Canberra lounge "remains under review."
The Sydney and Brisbane lounges will keep their Premium Entry feature (we're checking to see if this also includes Melbourne's Premium Exit).
Notably, Adelaide's all-new lounge – the expected April 2020 opening of which was delayed by Covid-19 restrictions – will now open in the first quarter of 2021, and serve as the prototype of a new-look lounge which will be rolled out across the entire domestic lounge network.
The airline says this fresh design "will provide customers with an experience and aesthetic more aligned to the Virgin brand they know and love.
Virgin declined to comment on the fate of The Club, its invitation-only VIP tier and exclusive lounge, created by former CEO John Borghetti to match the Qantas Chairman's Lounge program.
Investment in technology
"No material changes" are promised for Velocity Frequent Flyer, while "a number of significant new partnerships" based on earning points on everyday spending are slated for 2021.
The airline will double-down on technology, both for airport check-in and a turbocharged mobile app and experience.
The airline's current Velocity Frequent Flyer app will be rolled into an all-new Virgin Australia app, with "a significant pipeline of technology projects which will combine to create significant enhancement to our guest’s experience."
The 'hybrid' check-in systems at Melbourne and Perth, which combine self-service and staff-assisted modes, will be extended "across major airports by December 2021, simplifying the airport experience and leveraging new technology."
The Perth-based Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) will remain part of the Virgin portfolio "following a strategic review of its operating model."