Virgin Blue is working towards a deal that would see it add another codeshare and Velocity frequent flyer partner by the end of March, with others likely to follow later in the year, Steve Creedy of the Australian Press reported.
The move, designed to further offset the advantage that Qantas enjoys through its international network and membership of the oneworld alliance, is part of Virgin’s plan to reinvent itself as a “new world carrier” and attract more business travelers.
The airline is in talks with at least three airlines from the massive Star Alliance, whose members include Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand, as well as three independent carriers.
The airline launched its Velocity frequent flyer program in November with Dubai-based Emirates and Virgin Atlantic as partners.
Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey told Creedy that the airline was in talks with several airlines, including Star carriers.
However, he said the airline was not exploring the possibility of joining the alliance. “I think it’s fair to say oneworld carriers aren’t going to be too interested, but Star carriers would rather put their people — in terms of domestic distribution — on anyone other than a oneworld carrier,” he said.
Virgin is moving to distance itself from its low-cost carrier beginnings and reinvent itself as a new type of carrier capable of offering the benefits of full-service airlines but with a lower cost base.