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V Australia launch Delayed

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Monday, 6 October 2008

Virgin Blue has blamed the ongoing strike at Boeings Seattle plant for a delay to its planned 15 December 2008 launch of long haul international airline, V Australia.

Boeing has earlier advised its customers, including V Australia, that it cannot predict the duration of the dispute and therefore cannot guarantee the delivery date of the airlines launch aircraft.

The manufacturer has ceased to assemble aircraft at the Seattle plant since the strike commenced on 6 September, 2008 when 27,000 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers downed tools.

V Australia has three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in advanced stage production at the plant. The strike however has no bearing on services operated by Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue or Polynesian Blue.

In the continuing absence of a revised aircraft delivery schedule, Virgin Blue said it considered the only responsible course of action was to nominate a revised V Australia launch date of 28 February, 2009 to protect the interests of its customers. V Australias Brisbane-Los Angeles direct services, due to launch on 1 March, 2009, are not affected.

The airline has suspended further advance ticket sales for travel between 15 December, 2008 and 28 February, 2009 in case the Boeing strike should be prolonged.

Virgin Blue said should the industrial dispute be resolved in the short term, the airline would move swiftly to bring forward V Australias start-up schedule. The company said the impact of the serious delay would be addressed between Virgin Blue and Boeing at a later date.

V Australia said it would help those customers who have already booked on the new airline and whose travel will be unavoidably impacted by the Boeing strike. Accordingly the airline said it will honour its commitments and offer one of the following alternative arrangements to travellers booked to travel between 15 December, 2008 to 16 January, 2009:

- Guests who rebook on V Australia on or after 1 March, 2009 will be reaccommodated on their choice of flights. As a gesture of goodwill the airline will also provide a $200 voucher for travel on Virgin Blues Australian network. 

- A full refund.

- An alternative flight on another airline, arranged at V Australias expense.

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