Australia: Virgin Blue Opens Lounges

Australia: Virgin Blue Opens Lounges

Virgin Blue is looking to grab a third of the corporate and business travel market as it ramps up attempts to attract premium passengers with a $2 million-plus upgrade to its lounges, according to a report by Steve Creedy.

The upgrade is the latest of several moves by the low-cost carrier to attract well-heeled customers. Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey told Creedy more initiatives were on the way.

He would not say whether this included the introduction of premium economy or business-class seating on Virgin flights.

But he said the airline would introduce its next initiative — on-board live cable television — by the end of September, and expected to have the fleet converted by June next year, at a cost of $US1 million per plane.

The latest upgrade pits Virgin’s renewed offering against the popular Qantas Club and comes after last year’s introduction of its Velocity frequent flyer program, also aimed at corporate travelers.

The all-inclusive facilities — which opened in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane — offer complimentary drinks, food and “enhanced” business facilities including free wireless internet.

Godfrey said plans to fly to the U.S. were still in progress, and Virgin had a team of 10 working on them.

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