Branson launches V Australian

As an Open Skies agreement between the United States and Australia takes effect, Richard Branson's newest addition to the Virgin fleet was announced earlier this week. V Australia, a division of Australian carrier Virgin Blue, will fly from Sydney to Los Angeles starting in December, competing with Qantas and United (which are the two airlines that currently fly the route). Branson said that "there is going to be very fierce competition, as there is with Virgin Blue and Qantas in Australia, and fares will definitely drop quite dramatically across this route... Our philosophy is never to go out with an empty seat."

Fares are relatively cheap - V Australia's return economy seats start at $1899. A special promotional round-trip fare of $777 for the first 1000 US passengers to book sold out quickly. In terms of aircraft, V Australia will start out with a single Boeing 777-300ER (it has ordered 6 total). Right now, Los Angeles is the only concrete destination, but the airline has also been interested in flying to Japan. It has also applied to the US Department of Transportation for approval to operate from Sydney to San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle, and New York.