Virgin-Singapore alliance rolls out first service

Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines have announced their first cooperative service as part of their new alliance. (Seth Jaworski)

Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines have launched the first phase of their recently approved alliance with a joint service connecting Singapore, Darwin and Sydney. The airlines have also announced reciprocal frequent flyer programs.

SilkAir, Singapore Airlines’ regional subsidiary, will begin four-times-weekly service between Singapore and Darwin from March 26 2012, while Virgin will complement those flights with a daily service between Sydney and Darwin starting April 2 next year.

“Darwin is the gateway to the Northern Territory’s popular tourist destinations and is an increasingly important commercial hub,” Virgin executive of alliances, network and yield management Merren McArthur said. “Together with Singapore Airlines we will be able to offer visitors from Singapore, Asia and Europe the opportunity to visit the Northern Territory and then travel on to Sydney and the East Coast of Australia.

“Our services will also be attractive to business travellers who now have the option of a quality business class service from Sydney to Darwin and on to Singapore and beyond.”

Virgin has launched a major push to attract business customers as it rebrands itself as a full service airline.

The two carriers also confirmed the launch of reciprocal frequent flyer recognition from 20 December this year, though SilkAir flights are not included at present.

Virgin and Singapore Airlines received final approval for their alliance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission earlier this month.