In brief: V Australia and Pacific Blue will all come under the Virgin Australia brand as of January 1st, 2012.
Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti named the date for completion of his single-brand strategy at today's IATA 2011 conference in Singapore, and is clearly relishing the chance to tick another box off his 'Game Change' to-do list which has turned the low-cost Virgin Blue airline into a major challenger for Qantas and what is increasingly appearing to be a world-class operation.
Borghetti told Australian Business Traveller that today's announcement of the Singapore Airlines partnership completes his airline's "major alliance strategy", although that clearly leaves room for the anointment of smaller second-tier carriers to serve specific markets.
However, Borghetti specifically nixed suggestions that the tie-up with Singapore Airlines was at any time part of the discussions surrounding the use of the Virgin Australia brand (Singapore Airlines holds 49% of Virgin Atlantic, and as such has veto power over the use of the Virgin name in international aviation.)
Borghetti also said he no immediate plans to substantially boost the size of the Virgin Australia fleet. "We're very happy with our current fleet plan, we're not looking at increasing it."
"A lot of airlines have gone broke by having too much capacity, but I don't know anyone who's gone broke by having too little capacity" he observed. That said, he allowed that while the fleet currently includes five Airbus A330s, "three to five is a suboptimal number in the long run."