V Australia airline delays launch


Virgin’s first Australian-based major international airline has postponed its launch by two and a half months.

In an email to those who have booked tickets for the airline’s first services, V Australia blamed a strike at a US aircraft factory for the cancellation of all services between December 15 and January 16.

“As you may be aware from media reports, Boeing has ceased assembling aircraft at its Seattle factory due to the fact that 27,000 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have been on strike since 6 September 2008,” V Australia executive Scott Swift wrote.

“V Australia has three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in advanced production at the factory.

“It is in these circumstances that we feel we have no choice but to delay our V Australia launch and have nominated a revised V Australia launch date of 28 February 2009 to protect the interests of our guests.”

Customers who had booked flights in December and mid-January had the option of changing their booking to a later flight or a full refund, the email said.

The airline also said it would try to “secure an alternative flight on another airline” if the customer requested it.

“We will be contacting everyone in departure date order, so please be patient as it will take us a little time.”

Other Virgin airlines would not be affected by the strike, Mr Swift said.