Virgin Australia has added 11 new destinations in Italy as part of its codeshare agreement with Alitalia.
At the same time, the Italian flag carrier has added its AZ airline code on Virgin domestic flights to eight new Australian destinations.
Virgin said in a statement it would codeshare on Alitalia-operated flights from Rome to Bari, Bologna, Catania, Florence, Genoa, Lamezia Terme, Naples, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Turin and Venice.
The Australian carrier already places its VA airline code on Alitalia’s flights from Abu Dhabi to both Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa as part of a codeshare agreement and frequent flyer partnership first announced in April.
The new codeshares are in addition to Virgin’s existing codeshare agreements for Etihad Airways’ services from Australia to Rome and Milan via Abu Dhabi, as well as Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) services to Milan and Rome through Singapore. Etihad was also due to launch a new service to Venice at the end of October.
Virgin Australia general manager for alliances Phil Squires said: “Our expanded codeshare relationship with Alitalia makes it easier for Australians to do business or visit friends and family in Italy.”
Members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program earn points and status credits on all Alitalia-operated flights, not just within Europe but also the airline’s services to the Americas, the Middle East and elsewhere. Premium members of Velocity also receive extra perks such as lounge access where available, priority checkin and extra luggage allowance.
Meanwhile, Alitalia is offering eight new codeshare destinations on Virgin-operated flights from Sydney to Adelaide, Ballina (Byron), Coffs Harbour, the Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and the Sunshine Coast.
The Skyteam alliance member already codeshares on Virgin’s three times a week Sydney-Abu Dhabi flight.
It recently ended a frequent flyer arrangement with Qantas.
Alitalia chief strategy and planning officer John Shepley said the new codeshare services offered passengers more travel options.
“The expanded cooperation with Virgin Australia will provide Italian air travellers with a wider range of Australian destinations for business travel and holidaymakers to bring Italy and Australia even closer,” Shepley said in a statement.
“And this new arrangement opens up a variety of Italian cities throughout the whole country for Australian flyers.”
Etihad became a 49 per cent owner of Alitalia after completing a 1.76 billion euro deal in August 2014 that also included a 560 million euro investment in the loss-making Italian airline.
Meanwhile, SIA was gearing up for the start of its four times a week Singapore-Canberra-Wellington service with an expansion of its codeshare partnership with Air New Zealand.
The Airline Route website reported SIA would add its SQ airline code on Air New Zealand-operated flights from Wellington to 13 domestic destinations – Blenheim, Dunedin, Gisborne, Hamilton, Invercargill, Napier-Hastings, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Queenstown, Rotorua, Tauranga and Timaru.
On September 1, Air New Zealand and SIA said the Singapore flag carrier’s Singapore-Wellington service would be added to the pair’s revenue-sharing joint-venture.
SIA’s inaugural flight was due to take off from Singapore on September 21, arriving in Canberra on the morning of September 22.