Singapore Airlines’ penchant for the Virgin brand

Courtesy Singapore Airlines

Courtesy Singapore Airlines

THERE appears to be a natural relationship between Singapore Airlines (SIA) and the Virgin brand. Or, you may say, the Singapore flag carrier seems to have a penchant for the Virgin brand.

While SIA has finally got rid of a disappointing investment in Virgin Atlantic, selling its 49 per cent stake which it acquired in 1999 to Delta Airlines (see Finally, SIA lets Virgin go, Dec 12, 2012), it has now entered into a code-share arrangement with Virgin America. By this, SIA customers will enjoy seamless transfer to Virgin, from its West Coast gateway points of San Francisco and Los Angeles to reach more cities in the United States, namely Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Washington D.C.

SIA currently operates 45 weekly flights to five points in the US, including New York JFK, Newark and Houston. However, the statement it issued did not mention transfers from these points.250px-Virgin_America_Logo.svg

Virgin Senior Vice President for Planning and Sales John MacLeod said: “The partnership with one of the world’s leading airlines is a testament to the quality of our product.”

In many ways, SIA and Virgin are similar. Both are respectable brand names that are facing tough competition from rivals, particularly mega-alliances such as British Airways/American Airlines and Qantas/Emirates. They are under pressure to seek suitable tie-ups lest they be disadvantaged by the lack of an extended network beyond their individual operations.

What SIA does with Virgin America replicates what it is doing in Australia in its alliance with Virgin Australia in which it recently acquired a 10 per cent stake. (See Singapore Airlines ramps up Virgin cooperation, Nov 23, 2012). The partnership gives SIA access to 32 Australian cities via Virgin connections.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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