Virgin Australia and Alitalia boost codeshare network

BOEING 737 800 VIRGIN AUSTRALIA HBA JUN14 RF IMG_9084

Virgin Australia has added 11 new destinations in Italy as part of its codeshare agreement with Alitalia.

At the same time, the Italian flag carrier has added its AZ airline code on Virgin domestic flights to eight new Australian destinations.

Virgin said in a statement it would codeshare on Alitalia-operated flights from Rome to Bari, Bologna, Catania, Florence, Genoa, Lamezia Terme, Naples, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Turin and Venice.

The Australian carrier already places its VA airline code on Alitalia’s flights from Abu Dhabi to both Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa as part of a codeshare agreement and frequent flyer partnership first announced in April.

The new codeshares are in addition to Virgin’s existing codeshare agreements for Etihad Airways’ services from Australia to Rome and Milan via Abu Dhabi, as well as Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) services to Milan and Rome through Singapore. Etihad was also due to launch a new service to Venice at the end of October.

Virgin Australia general manager for alliances Phil Squires said: “Our expanded codeshare relationship with Alitalia makes it easier for Australians to do business or visit friends and family in Italy.”

Members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program earn points and status credits on all Alitalia-operated flights, not just within Europe but also the airline’s services to the Americas, the Middle East and elsewhere. Premium members of Velocity also receive extra perks such as lounge access where available, priority checkin and extra luggage allowance.

Meanwhile, Alitalia is offering eight new codeshare destinations on Virgin-operated flights from Sydney to Adelaide, Ballina (Byron), Coffs Harbour, the Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and the Sunshine Coast.

The Skyteam alliance member already codeshares on Virgin’s three times a week Sydney-Abu Dhabi flight.

It recently ended a frequent flyer arrangement with Qantas.

Alitalia chief strategy and planning officer John Shepley said the new codeshare services offered passengers more travel options.

“The expanded cooperation with Virgin Australia will provide Italian air travellers with a wider range of Australian destinations for business travel and holidaymakers to bring Italy and Australia even closer,” Shepley said in a statement.

“And this new arrangement opens up a variety of Italian cities throughout the whole country for Australian flyers.”

Etihad became a 49 per cent owner of Alitalia after completing a 1.76 billion euro deal in August 2014 that also included a 560 million euro investment in the loss-making Italian airline.

Meanwhile, SIA was gearing up for the start of its four times a week Singapore-Canberra-Wellington service with an expansion of its codeshare partnership with Air New Zealand.

The Airline Route website reported SIA would add its SQ airline code on Air New Zealand-operated flights from Wellington to 13 domestic destinations – Blenheim, Dunedin, Gisborne, Hamilton, Invercargill, Napier-Hastings, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Queenstown, Rotorua, Tauranga and Timaru.

On September 1, Air New Zealand and SIA said the Singapore flag carrier’s Singapore-Wellington service would be added to the pair’s revenue-sharing joint-venture.

SIA’s inaugural flight was due to take off from Singapore on September 21, arriving in Canberra on the morning of September 22.

Australian Aviation

Virgin Australia and Alitalia expand frequent flyer partnership

Virgin Australia's Velocity frequent flyer program. (Virgin Australia)

Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program has about seven million members.

(Virgin Australia)

 

Members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program can now earn points and status credits for intra-Europe flights as a result of an expanded partnership with Italian flag carrier Alitalia.

While Velocity does have an existing partnership with Germany’s airberlin, its six million members could only earn points, and not status credits, on airberlin operated and marketed flights within Europe, leaving the continent a bit of a blackspot for the program.

However, that gap now been filled with Velocity members able to earn points and status credits on all Alitalia-operated flights, not just within Europe but also the airline’s services to the Americas, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Further, premium members of Virgin’s frequent flyer program will also receive benefits such as priority boarding, extra luggage allowance and access to Alitalia’s 10 premium lounges.

And both Velocity and MilleMiglia members can use points to redeem flights on both airlines’ networks.

The expanded partnership between Alitalia and Virgin announced on Friday – which also covers Alitalia’s MilleMiglia members earning points on all Virgin-operated services – follows acodesharing arrangement that was unveiled in April.

The Alitalia partnership adds to existing major alliances with the likes of Delta Air Lines for flights in the Americas, Singapore Airlines/Silkair throughout Asia, Etihad Airways for the Middle East and North Africa, and Air New Zealand for the Tasman, in addition to services out of Australia.

There are also tie-ups with the likes of Hawaiian Airlines and South African Airways.

Velocity Frequent Flyer chief executive Karl Schuster talked up the reciprocal lounge access component of the Alitalia partnership.

“To be able to access 10 of Alitalia’s premium lounges located across Italy and in New York will provide a more seamless and enjoyable travel experience for Velocity Platinum and Gold members,” Schuster said in a statement.

“We look forward to welcoming eligible members of MilleMiglia into Virgin Australia’s 12 stunning lounges across Australia. We are committed to rewarding our members in innovative ways and giving them more options to explore our growing international network.”

Alitalia recently ended a frequent flyer arrangement with Qantas.

 

Australian Aviation

Virgin Australia links up with Alitalia

Virgin's Direct LAX-MEL services will cease on Oct 25. (Rob Finlayson)

Virgin Australia is boosting its international network and frequent flyer program through a codeshare agreement and frequent flyer partnership with Alitalia.

Initially, Virgin will place its VA airline code on the Italian flag carrier’s flights from Abu Dhabi to Rome and Milan (Malpensa), which are operated by Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft.

Frequent flyer benefits would be announced at a later date, Virgin said on Monday.

Virgin Australia chief commercial officer Judith Crompton said the codeshare would offer its passengers more choice for travel to Italy.

“We will continue to work closely with other international carriers to give our customers access to more destinations, more flights and more convenient schedules, as well as increased benefits for Velocity members,” Crompton said in a statement.

“We are very excited to partner with Alitalia and provide more choice to our customers travelling to Italy.

“Members of our Velocity Frequent Flyer program and Alitalia’s MilleMiglia program will soon benefit from the partnership.”

Virgin currently codeshares on Etihad Airways’ services from Australia to to Rome and Milan via Abu Dhabi, as well as Singapore Airlines’ services to Milan Rome through Singapore.

The Australian carrier also offers three flights a week between Sydney and Abu Dhabi with Boeing 777-300ERs. However, those flights are currently suspended while Virgin’s 777 fleet undergo a cabin upgrade with new business class seats and a refreshed premium economy cabin that is due to be completed by the end of July.

Etihad became a 49 per cent owner of Alitalia after completing a 1.76 billion euro deal in August 2014 that also included a 560 million euro investment in the loss-making Italian airline.

Alitalia is a member of the Skyteam alliance and is also one of seven airlines that belong to “Etihad Airways Partners”, which brings together Etihad plus five other airlines in which Etihad holds equity stakes in – airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Jet Airways and Swiss-based Darwin Airline (which operates as Etihad Regional).

It recently ended a frequent flyer arrangement with Qantas.

Etihad is also a 25.1 per cent shareholder in Virgin.

 

Australian Aviation

Itália busca os turistas cearenses

A “Velha Bota” apresenta diferenciais como história e cultura e se coloca no roteiro de compras no exterior

A companhia Alitália suspendeu por tempo indeterminado a operação das duas frequên-cias semanais para Fortaleza a partir de Roma, mas o governo italiano mantém o investimento em divulgação da “Velha Bota” no Ceará e nos principais mercados emissores da região Sudeste na tentativa de conquistar novos visitantes. Considerando essa ação, a expectativa é de que pelo menos 1 milhão de turistas brasileiros visitem a Itália até o final de 2013.

A catedral ( Duomo di Milano) é um dos principais pontos turísticos de Milão, enquanto o outlet de Barberino abriga marcas mundialmente famosas fotos: divulgação

No Ceará, a iniciativa do governo italiano, através da Agência Nacional de Turismo Italiana (Enit), com apoio da TAM Linhas Aéreas e da rede europeia de outlets McArthurGlen Group, tem a parceria da Complexo Operadora, que promoveu, semana passada, um workshop de capacitação do destino Itália para cerca de 80 agentes de viagens de Fortaleza. O evento aconteceu no restaurante Treze Sabores do Mundo, com a participação de representantes dos parceiros no projeto de divulgação dos atrativos turísticos italianos.

Durante o workshop foram apresentadas diversas opções de roteiros pela Itália, com destaque para a capital, Roma, e Milão, cidade que recebe voos diários da TAM provenientes do Brasil. As duas metrópoles abrem caminhos para um leque de opções de turismo segmentado pelo país, como cicloturismo, enoturismo, turismo cultural, águas termais e turismo esportivo (golfe). As inúmeras opções de viagens estão distribuídas por 20 regiões, 112 províncias e 8.012 municípios, muitos deles banhados pelas águas do Mediterrâneo.

Uma nova tendência de viagem que está sendo incentivada na Itália foi mostrada aos agentes locais. Trata-se do shopping tur (viagem de compras). Para atrair viajantes que não dispensam as compras a cada giro pelo exterior, a “Velha Bota” apresenta os produtos refinados e de grifes de luxo dos outlets italianos controlados pela McArthurGlen (rede de outlets europeia). São cinco outlets na Itália, situados nas localidades de Barberino, La Reggia, Castel Romano, Serravalle e Noventa Di Piave, que comercializam marcas mundialmente famosas e cobiçadas, como Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Michael Kors e outras.

“A ideia é contar com o apoio dos agentes de viagens para mudar o foco de compras dos brasileiros no exterior, fazendo-os voltarem-se para a Itália, que oferece preços convidativos nos seus outlets. Um exemplo é uma bolsa da marca Prada, que custa cerca de 240 euros, enquanto no Brasil é comercializada por algo em torno de R$ 7 mil”, comentou Danny Guimarães, da Royal Collection.

Segundo Guimarães, os McArthurGlen Designer Outlets oferecem muito mais do que apenas fazer compras, incluindo noites de moda, música ao vivo, trend palestras, guias de estilo e outras atividades, além de uma seleção de serviços que envolve balcões de informação, cafés e restaurantes que servem cozinha local e europeia, estacionamento gratuito, shuttle-bus, áreas de lazer para crianças e equipe multilíngue.

Pacotes

Para levar cearenses até a Itália, a Complexo Operadora formatou pacotes de viagens de até seis noites para várias cidades Italianas, destacando-se o que oferece a acomodação em Milão, com preços a partir de 1.548 euros por pessoa em apartamento duplo, parceláveis em até 10 vezes sem juros (baixa temporada). O pacote inclui o trecho aéreo pela TAM saindo de Fortaleza, hospedagem no hotel Ibis Centro, com café da manhã; traslados, city-tour e tour de compras ao Serravalle McAthurGlen,

A TAM opera voo diário no trecho São Paulo (SP) – Milão, com saída às 22h40 e chegada às 15h05 (horário local). No sentido inverso, o voo parte às 21h40, aterrissando no Brasil às 4h50 (horário de Brasília). A passagem em baixa temporada está com preço promocional de US$ 1.137 (ida e volta), parceláveis em até 10 vezes sem juros nos cartões de crédito Fidelidade. O valor do trecho aéreo Fortaleza-São Paulo-Fortaleza já está incluso. Os voos diários que partem da Capital cearense e favorecem a conexão em São Paulo são: TAM 3563, 3878 e 3741.

Otimismo

No contato com os agentes de viagens locais, a diretora da Complexo Operadora, Carol Fortaleza, demonstrou otimismo quanto ao sucesso da parceria com a Enit, TAM e McArthurGlen, levando em conta o interesse dos cearenses por compras no exterior, aliada à oportunidade de conhecer destinos que guardam rica história e cultura.

 

Diário do Nordeste-Turismo-13/06/2013