Final approval for Virgin–Alliance collaboration on 41 routes

written by Adam Thorn | April 12, 2021
VH-UYZ Alliance Airlines E190 AA (Dave Soda)
VH-UYZ Alliance Airlines E190 AA (Dave Soda)

The ACCC has granted final permission for Virgin and Alliance to collaborate on 41 regional routes until 31 March 2023.

Australia’s competition commission had earlier granted interim authorisation in November despite fierce opposition from Rex.

The deal will allow Virgin to share information on cost, capacity, and flight schedules with Alliance in order to help serve smaller towns with its post-administration, stripped-back fleet, arguing that ceding market share to Qantas could result in more expensive fares for passengers.

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The 41 routes included services to regional towns from Brisbane, Alice Springs, Perth and Cairns. The full list is at the bottom of this article.

In its initial ruling published in November, the ACCC said, “The co-operation will allow Virgin Australia and Alliance Airlines to share information, and to agree on service capacity, schedules and potentially revenue sharing on the routes on which they operate, including for new routes not currently serviced by either airline.

“The co-operation will mean that Virgin Australia and Alliance Airlines will not compete with each other on the routes covered by the agreement.

“Our preliminary view is that any public detriment resulting from reduced competition between Alliance Airlines and Virgin Australia is likely to be limited, given Alliance Airlines’ limited number of scheduled regular passenger services. We will consider this issue further in the course of our review of the substantive application.

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“We consider that other airlines, including Qantas Airways and Qantas-owned Jetstar, are likely to compete strongly with Alliance Airlines and Virgin Australia on many of the routes covered by the agreement.”

In August 2020, Virgin Australia announced plans to cut 3,000 jobs and significantly downsize its fleet.

The new network will operate a 737 mainline fleet for domestic services but removing ATR, Boeing 777, Airbus A330 and Tigerair Airbus A320s. Its regional and charter fleet will also be maintained.

Meanwhile, Alliance has been one of the few success stories of the pandemic, capitalising on the reduced schedule of larger carriers and the need for COVID-adapted planes.

In May 2020, it even announced it had increased profits that financial year by $7 million. The good results allowed it to sign a deal for 14 new E190 jet aircraft in June 2020 and then a further 16 in December 2020. The aircraft will join its existing fleet of Fokker F100s, Fokker 70LRs and Fokker 50 turboprops.

VIRGIN AND ALLIANCE COLLABORATION

Brisbane to

  • Proserpine
  • Mackay
  • Emerald
  • Mount Isa
  • Cloncurry
  • Port Moresby
  • Rockhampton
  • Moranbah
  • Newcastle
  • Gladstone
  • Port Macquarie
  • Bundaberg
  • Weipa
  • Tamworth
  • Honiara
  • Alice Springs
  • Ayers Rock

Alice Springs to

  • Darwin
  • Ayers Rock

Perth to

  • Newman
  • Karratha
  • Onslow
  • Kalgoorlie – Boulder
  • Kununurra
  • Port Hedland

Cairns to

  • Darwin
  • Maroochydore
  • Ayers Rock

Cloncurry to

  • Mt Isa

Canberra to

  • Maroochydore

Sydney to

  • Canberra
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Port Macquarie
  • Albury
  • Tamworth
  • Ayers Rock

Adelaide to

  • Canberra
  • Olympic Dam
  • Alice Springs

Melbourne to

  • Canberra
  • Kununurra
  • Newcastle
  • Mildura

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11 Comments

  • Rod Pickin

    says:

    Congratulations to both Virgin and Alliance a great outcome for the customers

    • Vannus

      says:

      …..and some much needed funds into their coffers’, as well as QF’s!

  • AgentGerko

    says:

    Any indications when flights will commence? I’d love to see a nice little Alliance jet taking on Qantas and its Dash 8’s. But Alliance may need to do some more ordering of aircraft as they can’t keep flying decades-old Fokker 70ss and 100s forever.

    • Vannus

      says:

      It’d be an excellent idea for you to read the above article more thoroughly, especially the last paragraph, where new aircraft information is given, before you comment!

      Also, you’re obviously unaware that QANTAS owns 19.2% of Alliance, so they won’t be ‘taking on QANTAS’…..your wording.

      • James

        says:

        19.9% Vannus…

        Maybe you should take some of your own advice.

        It’s astonishing to me why people continually make reference to Qantas’s stake in QQ.

        • Vannus

          says:

          I stand corrected! Silly me!

          It’s a fact, so your astonishment is misplaced.

      • Simon

        says:

        Qantas has no say in what Alliance does, they have no person from Qantas on the board and the ACCC is currently reviewing their 19% share as they may be forced to sell this.
        So the Alliance/Virgin arrangement will FULLY compete with Qantas.

        • Timothy

          says:

          Until QF is ‘forced to sell’ their % of QQ, there’s still money to be made by QF.
          It’ll be interesting to see what ACCC does, as QF has had this stake in QQ for sometime.
          Funny how it’s supposedly just ‘moving against’ QF now.

  • IAN

    says:

    can’t see any SYD/ABX “Virgin” flights online for Sep.

    • Warwick

      says:

      That’s because until all the paperwork is finalised, schedules, crewing, airport slots organised, et al.
      Then all this flight availability has got to be loaded into Reservations’ computers’.

      This doesn’t happen overnight, but takes months’.

      People have got no idea how airlines’ work, & the absolutely huge level of involvement of several departments’ to keep them flying.

  • R

    says:

    Melbourne to ????

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