The battle for Australia’s business travellers is hotting up, with Virgin Australia officially launching its business class seating and service next Wednesday, January 18.
Business class will replace the current premium economy cabin offered on most domestic Virgin Australia flights, and follows the debut of business class on the Sydney-Perth ‘Coast To Coast’ A330 service in May last year.
If you’ve flown Virgin Australia in recent months you may already have seen or sat in the new business class seats at front of the challenger airline’s factory-fresh Boeing 737-800s – they’re the ones with the cool new Boeing Sky Interior cabin – as well as many of the older but now refurbished 737s.
The leather-clad business class seats all sport a 38 inch pitch and laptop power socket, with one flight attendant dedicated to looking after the eight business class seats. They’ll also enjoy a new Luke Mangan-designed menu.
According to Roy Morgan Research, Australia has over 2.1 million domestic business travellers. However, Qantas has faced no true ‘business class’ competition since the collapse of Ansett Australia almost 10 years ago.
Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti is aiming to see 20% of the airline’s revenue come from Australia’s corporate and government market by June 2013.
As of June 2011 that figure stood at 13%, up by a third over the previous year – and with Qantas’ recent industrial woes playing to Virgin’s hands, Borghetti not only looks good to be closing the gap but could reach his goal ahead of schedule.