The first fruits of the new alliance between Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia are to be new international and domestic routes to Darwin in Northern Australia and the launch of frequent-flyer program co-operation.
As part of a joint plan to increase services to northern Australia, Singapore Airlines’ regional full-service airline SilkAir will begin four-times-weekly service between Singapore and Darwin on March 26.
Virgin Australia will complement these flights with daily service between Sydney and Darwin from April 2.
Virgin Australia is also going to open a lounge at Darwin International Airport that will accommodate eligible Virgin Australia customers and those of its alliance partners.
The two airlines also confirm that from December 20 this year, they will begin reciprocal frequent-flyer program recognition, enabling SIA’s KrisFlyer members to earn and redeem frequent flyer points on Virgin Australia’s entire network.
Similarly, members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent-flyer program will be able to earn and redeem frequent-flyer points on Singapore Airlines-operated flights. (SilkAir flights are not initially included in the reciprocal earn-and-redeem arrangement.) Reciprocal lounge access is also available for eligible customers.
“We are delighted to be adding Darwin to our network and providing more travel options for our customers as a result of our alliance with Virgin Australia,” says Mak Swee Wah, Singapore Airlines’ executive vice president commercial and chairman of SilkAir. “Our partnership enables us to better service this important market, particularly with the introduction of a strong business class product and extensive international connections.”
“The alliance with Singapore Airlines enables us to open up important new routes in Australia and Asia and we have moved quickly to identify and realize this opportunity with our new partner,” says Merren McArthur, Virgin Australia Group’s executive of alliances, network & yield management.
“Darwin is the gateway to the Northern Territory’s popular tourist destinations and is an increasingly important commercial hub,” adds McArthur. “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.”
McArthur notes: “Our services will also be attractive to business travelers, who now have the option of a quality business-class service from Sydney to Darwin and on to Singapore and beyond.”
The two airlines expect to begin codesharing on each other’s services from early 2012.