Virgins get a little closer

The Virgins of Sir Richard Branson are now growing a little closer together. 

Now a member of one frequent flier program can earn their miles/points on other Virgin branded flights and will soon be able to redeem miles for flights on various Virgin brands too.  The only question is why did it take this long?

Virgin Atlantic appears to be set to be the “leader” of this consortium and well it should be.  With the various Virgin brands in place around the world, one would think this kind of linkup would have been fully integrated a long time ago.   Yes, Virgin America has been leery of being too closely associated with Virgin Atlantic but I think we can be done with that silliness now.

There are some synergies going on that, I think, could not only be expanded upon but which could lead to more growth for all.  Codeshares are one thing, I say start the Virgin Alliance and get cracking on linking up to the rest of the world.  Can’t you just see the marketing?  “Do you want to be a Virgin?”

The fact that Delta is courting Virgin Blue for codeshares in Australia is proof enough that that the Virgin products are good enough but they aren’t being tied together very well.  This latest announce is a good step towards fixing that.

Sir Richard Branson has pointed out the challenges in competing on a route like DFW-London against British Airways and American Airlines, the two airlines who own that route and have done so for a long time.  He’s right.  Even when they were supposedly not cooperating, that route was “owned” by BA and AA alone.  Not only does that remain so but now the two airlines can cooperate on the route. 

But now Virgin America is going to fly to DFW.  Imagine what happens if Virgin America is able to add a few more flights to DFW from other destinations.  Suddenly, there might be enough feed for a Virgin Atlantic flight.  Especially one utilizing an A330 or 787. 

The Virgins need to cooperate and work with each other.  They’ve got a great brand to work with, especially in English speaking countries, and it’s the best choice in fighting back against the alliances.  The latest mergers and new alliance anti-trust agreements now should make it possible for the Virgins to argue on their behalf for close cooperation, something they’ve been somewhat reluctant to do for fear of anti-trust issues. 

Virgin Atlantic needs to grow, as well.  It’s time for them to push past their traditional routes and that’s going to require some different aircraft.  Sir Richard Branson’s Airbus strategy hasn’t worked well for that airline and the 747 fleet is starting to get a touch old.  4 Engines 4 Long Haul sounded great but wasn’t the way to go.  It’s time for Virgin Atlantic to start purchasing a 787/777 or A330/A350 fleet not just for economy but for flexibility. 

Flexibility in that fleet should open up some opportunities for Virgin Atlantic worldwide.


One Response to “Virgins get a little closer”

  1. The only question is why did it take this long?

    No; that’s one of *two* “only questions.” The other question is why weren’t they integrated under some sort of Global Virgin Umbrella at inception?

    (“GVU Synergistic Effect” for a catch-phrase, anyone?)

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