V Australia to launch direct flights to South Africa


V Australia, Sir Richard Branson’s Australian international airline, will launch direct flights between Johannesburg, South Africa and Melbourne, Australia beginning early next year.

V Australia launched flights between Australia and the US in February this year and has already been recognized for its exceptional in-flight product, friendly crew, and unique Australiana touches. The airline is the sister carrier to Richard Branson’s other long-haul airline, Virgin Atlantic, which already operates flights from the United Kingdom to Johannesburg.

V Australia will begin flying between Australia and South Africa in March next year, just in time to fly hordes of fans to Johannesburg for the FIFA World Cup.

Flights from Johannesburg to Melbourne will take off on March 13, 2010 and operate twice weekly with connections to other Australian cities including Sydney and Brisbane.

Sir Richard Branson said: “I am very proud to be bringing our fresh new Aussie airline to South Africa and can’t wait for it to touch down for the first time on South African soil. I know V Australia will offer true value for money, while at the same time providing a brilliant service.”

He added: “I am especially pleased that it will mean lower fares to Australia and will also bring more Aussie visitors to experience the special beauty of South Africa, its people, its landscape, and of course, the big five.”

V Australia is part of the award winning Virgin Blue Group of Airlines, based in Australia and operates a brand new fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The carrier offers a three-class service including International Business, International Premium Economy, and International Economy.

The airline was designed to offer the most comfortable, high-tech, innovative, and pleasurable long-haul flying experience available and does so via a range of special features from the sit-down, in-flight bar; fully lie-flat beds; and “privacy suite” seating options in Business Class to the complimentary thongs and salt and pepper shakers in the shape of the Sydney Opera House that are gifted to Business Class guests.

The aircraft also features Australian animals hidden in wallpaper murals on the bathroom walls, a Ladies Only Toilet, and the Southern Cross sky twinkling on the cabin roof through its innovative mood lighting system. Every V Australia Guest across all cabins is able to enjoy its “Red” individual seat back in-flight entertainment providing a wide array of films, music, and games.

Sir Richard Branson continued, “The one special thing that sets Virgin airlines apart from all other airlines around the world is the people who fly our aircraft and the people who look after our guests, whether it be in the air or on the ground, and I am personally excited that travelers can now fly from Australia direct to South Africa on V Australia and then on to London with Virgin Atlantic under the great care of Virgin crew all the way.”

V Australia plans to announce super specials to Australia shortly, signaling a new era of air fare competition on South Africa-Australia routes.