Virgin Blue would remain a low-fare competitor but might consider introducing a frequent flyer program and a business class if a takeover bid by Patrick Corp. succeeds, an aviation analyst told The Age (Australia).
The managing director of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, Peter Harbison, told reporter Neil McMahon it would be foolish for Patrick to steer Virgin Blue away from its budget airline role. “I think it will be business as usual for passengers,” he said.
It was likely a successful Patrick bid would hasten Virgin Blue’s introduction of a frequent flyer program, Harbison said.
Since the introduction of Qantas’ competing low-cost carrier JetStar last year, Virgin has been under pressure to adopt a loyalty program. Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson said last month that such a program was “not far off.”
Harbison told The Age that frequent flyer programs had a “disproportionate impact” on passenger numbers, and Virgin was likely to introduce one “in the next few months.”