MIAMI Virgin Australia, the second-largest airline within Oceania, has announced plans to revamp their business and premium economy classes across their widebody fleet. Under the carriers recently announced three-year outlook entitled “Virgin Vision 2017”, the carrier is planning major overhauls to their onboard product and overall company image.
The first major changes will be coming to business class on its long-haul fleet, which consists of six Airbus A330-200s and five Boeing 777-300ERs. Virgin will be introducing suite-style business class seats named “Super Diamond” that the carrier says is “revolutionary” compared to the current product offered on Virgin Australia long haul flights.
The suite style seat fully converts into an 80-inch lie-flat bed and will be in a 1-2-1 configuration, offering all passengers full aisle access. Virgin plans for the new Super Diamond seat to feature a “unique tablet holder, a 16- to 18-inch touch screen for entertainment, multiple lighting settings and plenty of storage.” The new interior will reduce the number of overall seats onboard, with most reductions coming to the economy-class cabin. Additional upgrades will be coming exclusively to Virgin Australia’s 777 fleet, including a revamped international premium economy and a completely redesigned business class bar.
Upgrades across the widebody fleet are scheduled to begin in early 2015, with the A330-200. The first aircraft outfitted with the new business class is set to enter service in March 2015, with all five of Virgin Australia’s A330 aircraft completing outfitting by August 2015. The Super Diamond Suite will enter service onboard Virgin Australia’s 777 fleet in November 2015, with all aircraft outfitted by early 2016.
Virgin Australia says that the new interior designs were partly inspired by “the worlds most premium automotive designs.” All new onboard products were designed with support from the Tangerine London design agency. Business class seats will be produced by B/E Aerospace out of Wellington, Florida.
The new business class interior should help Virgin Australia better compete across the highly competitive Brisbane/ Sydney-Los Angeles route. The airline currently faces stiff competition from Australian flag carrier Qantas, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines on this highly coveted route. Virgin Australia recently made the decision to pull out of the Melbourne-Los Angeles route partly due to competitor United announcing plans to operate this route using its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Virgin promises these recently announcement changes will be the first of many under Virgin Vision 2017. Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti hopes this vision will help push his carrier as the favorite airline of Australia. “We are committed to maintaining a competitive advantage in customer experience in order to ensure that Virgin Australia is the number one choice for premium travellers,” he said in a statement.