Virgin Blue offshoot V Australia has become the first antipodean airline to take advantage of this weekend’s confirmed Open Skies agreement between the United States and Australia.
The new international carrier has announced plans for trans-Pacific services with a direct daily Sydney to Los Angeles route, breaking the monopoly previously held over flights between the two countries by United Airlines and Qantas Airways.
Building on its new route, V Australia has also announced a new ticketing partnership with American carrier Northwest Airlines, allowing the carrier to offer travellers Down Under access to linking flights across Canada and the US with its new partner, starting this December.
Reflecting on the implications of Open Skies, Brett Godfrey, chief executive and co-founder of Virgin Blue Airlines, said: "It’s tremendously exciting and opens a whole new range of possibilities for travellers and for tourism and trade development between our countries."
The new accord comes hot on the heels of the EU-US Open Skies agreement, signalling a general trend toward liberalisation in trans-continental aviation.
Sensing the possibility of major benefits for Australian airlines, the country’s recently elected leader Kevin Rudd is now pressing for progression in talks to complete the triangle and establish a free market in air travel between the EU and Australia.