Virgin Australia absorbs Pacific Blue and V Australia

Once upon a time (August, 2000 to be exact), a new airline was launched in Australia to challenge the two long standing carriers: Ansett and Qantas.

Virgin Blue Holdings

That airline was Virgin Blue. The name was chosen in a competition playing on the Australian custom of calling a redhead Blue or Bluey. I flew Virgin Blue 12 times around Australia and rated them 4.4 out of 5. They initially used a low cost Southwest/Easyjet model with some quirky Australianisms and the Virgin feel.



In 2003 Virgin Blue started Pacific Blue, a New Zealand based subsidiary which provided services between NZ, Australia, Phuket, Bali and Pacific Islands. They also flew domestically across NZ for a short time. I flew Pacific Blue, a mere four times and rated them 4 out of 5.


Polynesian Blue

This airline was created in 2005 to take over the international part of the Samoan Government’s flag carrier Polynesian Airlines, after its  ill-fated expansion bankrupted the carrier and was costing the government of Samoa half its annual budget to stay afloat! This new airline, a joint venture between the government of Samoa and Virgin Blue gave Samoa international flights to Australia and NZ. I never flew these guys.

V Australia

In 2009, saw the arrival of V Australia flying between Australia and the USA, followed by South Africa, Thailand and Abu Dhabi. The story goes that Singapore airlines with their interest in Virgin Atlantic and control of the Virgin name did not want the Virgin brand on that sector. (There has been intense debate between Singapore Airlines and the Australian government over Singapore’s desire to fly directly between Australia and the USA). So after another public competition, V Australia was the name. I have flown V Australia four times now and I have loved them every single time. I rate them 4.8 put of 5.

So what next in the story up to?

Following a change of CEO in 201o a new strategy was unveiled for the airline moving it from low cost carrier to full service airline. As part of that strategy, Virgin Blue became Virgin Australia in February 2011.  I have now flown Virgin Australia ten times (4.4 out of 5).

Last week

The Virgin Australia name replaced Pacific Blue and V Australia. Polynesian Blue became Virgin Samoa. Consistent branding will take some time to roll out so expect to see Planes, napkins, uniforms and boarding passes in various iterations.I like the uniforms and colour schemes.

Two Questions:

  1. Will these changes make money for Virgin?
  2. For me, I wonder how I keep on rating Virgin Australia from now on? Do I start again or combine their previous scores into one score? Oh the dilemmas of an airline geek!


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