Virgin Australia has all but ruled out joining Star Alliance or SkyTeam, with CEO John Borghetti saying he "doesn't see the merit" in any of the global airline alliances.
"There are no plan to join an alliance and there's no need for it" Borghetti told Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of last month's financial results briefing.
"You never say no to anything forever, but I just don't see the merit in it and I don't what we would gain."
"Whatever alliance we might go into, we would have to forfeit at least one of the anti-trust immunity deals we've got (with current partner airlines) and I'm not about to do that, so I just don't see a business case for it."
Having stitched up his own bespoke alliance on a 'best fit' basis with partners including Air New Zealand, Delta, Etihad and Singapore Airlines, Borghetti maintains that such bilateral agreements "are more more important that the multilaterals (of alliances)."
Trans-Tasman turf war
So what is on Borghetti's radar? He tips a greater focus on the 'high yield' business travel market and taking the trans-Tasman alliance with Air New Zealand to a new level.
"Trans-Tasman is in good shape and the alignment with Air New Zealand has been nothing short of superb" he admits, "but the best thing about that is there is still a lot more that we can do together, and you will see that happen over the next nine months or so."
And to nobody's surprise, the business travel segment remains in Borghetti's crosshairs.
"Corporate and government travel is a high yield market, we've got some of that and now we're going to be going harder to get more of it" Borghetti predicts.
This will see Virgin Australia further encroach on Qantas' oft-quoted 'line in the sand' of a 65% market share – a battle front which Virgin claims it's already broken – but Borghetti remains fixed on revenue rather than ratio.
"I've never seen anywhere in the world a business, let alone an airline, absolutely make market share target its strategy. Market share is usually a consequence of strategy, it's not the strategy."
"If you have a strategy of market share at all costs, well, you're going to go broke! Now maybe that's the right strategy for Qantas, that's not for me to say, but it certainly is one that'd I'd never deploy because I don't care about market share, I care about a high revenue mix."
Mum's the word on fleet plans
One thing Borghetti won't be drawn on is his forward fleet plan, beyond the delivery of an eighth Airbus A330 in September this year.
This will be the sixth new A330, alongside the first two which were bought 'pre-loved' from another airline, and is the last on Virgin's current A330 order sheet.
And that's all that Borghetti will say on that score.
"When you have a competitor who (says) it's going to put at least two aeroplanes on for every plane you are going to put on, why would I tell my competitor how many planes I'm going to put on?'' he asks.
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