In mid-December, United Airlines and Virgin Australia announced a new codeshare alliance. The duo has applied for codeshare clearances with the US Department of Transportation (DOT), laying the framework for future collaboration. The two airlines intend to launch cooperation that will feature connected routes and frequent flyer perks once they receive government certification.
According to the joint request filed by United Airlines and Virgin Australia for codeshare clearances, Virgin Australia will use the UA code of United Airlines on intra-Australia flights. Virgin Australia International will use the UA code on flights between Australia and third-country destinations. United Airlines will use the Virgin Australia VA code for flights between the United States and Australia and the flights inside the United States and flights between the United States and third-country destinations.
United Airlines’ VA code will be used on domestic flights and routes to Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. This would enable one-and two-stop itineraries to be booked. This provides convenience for passengers in terms of being able to change flights in the event of cancellations or delays and the opportunity to check bags throughout the trip.
As international travel from Australia restarts, the two airlines are ready to carry out their codeshare arrangement. The carriers told the DOT that they want to start using the codeshare cooperation as soon as the government approves it. The two airlines have already agreed on which routes they will codeshare and how they will do so.
United Airlines Virgin Australia codeshare will result in more flights between the US and Australia
The codeshare deal will pave the way for more flights between the United States and Australia. Virgin Australia continues to have permission to fly between Australia and the United States. United Airlines already flies between the United States and Australia.
An Open Skies Agreement between Australia and the United States allows for a liberalised air market, allowing airlines to establish and plan flights without requiring special, previous government authorisations. It is not banned for Virgin Australia to resume its transpacific operations. However, Virgin Australia lacks widebodies to operate international flights to the United States.
Between the United States and Australia, United Airlines has the most significant footprint of all US airlines. Daily non-stop services from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney are now available. Flights between Houston and Sydney and flights between Melbourne, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are set to restart this year. United Airlines will be allowed to offer connections to Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide as part of the codeshare deal.
United Airlines has demonstrated its willingness to use partnerships to start new flights. United Airlines may add flights to new Australian destinations Virgin Australia doesn’t already serve. Alternatively, Virgin Australia might use the alliance to reclaim its transpacific market.
Virgin Australia confirmed to the Department of Transportation that its codeshare and frequent flyer programmes with Delta would be phased out. As the airlines’ agreement with Delta comes to an end, the airline plans to file a notice of termination with the Department of Transportation.