Virgin Australia talks being the ‘Challenger Brand’ In New Zealand, international opportunities and challenges facing the aviation market

    We recently caught up with Virgin Australia Airlines group executive Rob Sharp, on the sidelines of the CAPA Airline CEOs event in Sydney. Mr Sharp discussed the end of its partnership with Air New Zealand and the announcement of a new Air New Zealand/Qantas codeshare agreement, its international route operations and challenges facing the entire aviation industry.

    Mr Sharp believes the codeshare agreement between Qantas and Air New Zealand will have “flow-on effects for competition on the Tasman” as the two airlines control over 70% of trans Tasman capacity and will be able to codeshare at each end.

    China is the key platform for growth of the airline’s international business. According to Mr Sharp, Virgin Australia has managed to secure “very good” slots at Hong Kong International Airport for business travellers for Sydney-Hong Kong service. Virgin Australia announced a codeshare relationship with Hainan Airlines at the beginning of Jun-2018, which will add “six to seven cities in China that you can fly direct to from Australia”. Mr Sharp said Virgin Australia can now serve 19 cities into China, either over Hong Kong or through its codeshare relationship with Hainan Airlines.

    To hear more, watch our exclusive interview below: