Home' Australian Aviation Magazine : March 2011 Contents 67
MARCH 2011 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
To deny its Platinum frequent yers
access to the lounges when they are not
travelling has upset the elite card holders
who have spoken to Australian Aviation.
And silver members lose their priority
check-in, and their access to Qantas Club
check-in desks will also be removed.
One disgruntled FF member, in a not so
light hearted jibe said that frequent yer
privileges are like pilot's seniority --"mess
with it at your peril."
e changes come as the airline rolls
out its Next Generation Check-in, but the
problem is that the next generation of pas-
sengers may not include as many business
yers who may opt for the new sexy edgy
ABT said that the "logic behind the
decision to remove the check-in bene ts is
di cult to understand."
"What a great idea! Mess with the
business traveller's privileges just at a time
when Virgin Oz is gearing up to seduce
those business customers to its upcoming
seriously revamped product and ser vices,"
the magazine warned.
And it would appear that passengers are
continuing to abandon Qantas, even with-
out the impact of these measures. In the
past year Qantas has lost more than ve per
cent of its international marketshare, and
the recent A380 and 747 engine problems
are not going to help going forward.
e airline has responded to the inter-
national slump by setting up a special team
headed by executive manager customer and
marketing Lesley Grant. However, initial
indications are that Grant will only be able
to tinker around the edges with evolution-
ary not revolutionary, changes.
As Australian Aviation went to press,
Virgin had not announced any details of its
assault on Qantas, although many tantalis-
ing tidbits have leaked out.
In September last year the airline ap-
pointed world renowned Sydney brand and
identity designer Hans Hulsbosch as crea-
tive director overseeing the transformation
of the Virgin Blue brand, which includes the
group's new livery and corporate identity.
Hulsbosch -- who worked with Borghetti
on the Qantas livery makeover a few years
back -- has over 20 years experience in
brand, corporate and product identity, and
it shows according to insiders in London
who have spoken with Australian Aviation.
"He has done a brilliant job," said one
London-based executive. He has "suc-
ceeded beyond our expectation."
His makeover of Virgin Blue apparently
needed Sir Richard Branson's approval
because it was so radical, but it received the
And the name changing includes all
the airline brands based in Australia and
brings them "more under one name" said
Australian Aviation understands that
Hulsbosch has developed an entirely new
colour scheme and livery to go with a
makeover of the ight attendants' uniforms.
Colours are thought to be a deeper red
and silver combination.
At the announcement of the appointment
Hulsbosch told media "Our brief is to take
the brand to a new level of modern sophis-
tication, keeping with the brand's contem-
porary young spirit. It will be unmistakably
Virgin with a fresh and innovative feel that
also knows how to have a little bit of fun."
e appointment of Hulsbosch was
followed by the engagement of advertis-
ing agency Clemenger BBDO to help
reposition the brand in the Australian and
However, Borghetti told Australian
Aviation in December that the makeover
would not create a me-too airline com-
pared to Qantas.
"It will be very di erent to Qantas. In
fact, quite the opposite." And with a smile,
he added, "If there is one thing we don't
want to be it is Qantas."
"We are driving to be an airline that is
relevant in today's world for business and
leisure sectors across all routes."
Borghetti is clearly -- and deeply -- im-
pressed by what he terms the "fresh" sta
attitude at Virgin Blue, who while hesitant
at rst have now embraced the new order
And "fresh" possibly best describes what
he has in store for travellers.
"I can harness the sta enthusiasm and
combine it with a product that is relevant
to today rather than a product that has
been around for decades."
Borghetti's move to introduce business
class with larger aircraft was rst mooted in
RETURN OF THE MIDDLE SEAT Qantas has reverted to the unpopular seven-abreast (2+3+2) business
class configuration (see below) on its domestic flagship A330s on the latest deliveries VH-EBO (pictured
above) and VH-EBP. (Seth Jaworski & Qantas)
RE-UNITED Hans Hulsbosch worked with John
Borghetti when the VB CEO was at Qantas. (Gerard
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