Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey hopes to release details of the airline’s long-awaited frequent flyer plan by the end of the year, as stumbling growth in leisure travel prompts Australia’s second carrier to increase its efforts to capture high-yielding passengers, according to The Australian.
Godfrey told reporter Steve Creedy that a frequent flyer plan was now at the “forefront of our thinking” as Virgin moved to take corporate market share off Qantas.
The Virgin chief has set his sights on gaining a bigger share of the frequent travelers who generate 15 percent of flights and between 22 and 25 percent of revenue.
He estimated Virgin currently attracted just 6 percent of that group and said he wanted the airline’s share to reflect its 30 percent share of the overall market.
But Godfrey conceded Virgin did not have some of the benefits that well-heeled travelers wanted, including a frequent flyer program. He said the airline was getting very close to a frequent flyer program it liked and thought would work, but it wanted a scheme that was a “game changer.”
“We will certainly make a decision by Christmas time about whether we think we’ve got one we can launch with,” he said. “But there’s no use coming into the market if you’re going to do the same old thing.
“The definition of insanity (is) doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If we do the same thing as Qantas and it pisses off the passengers then we’ll end up pissing off our passengers. So … it’s got to be what I’d call a category killer. It’s got to be something that really means something to people.
“So we are working diligently on being able to deliver something, but when it happens and the mechanics … are still being worked on. It’s not as simple as just saying buy nine and get one free, I can assure you.”