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Wendy is an IFE Agent responsible for aggregating airline news specifically related to Inflight entertainment. She compiles stories relevant to business travelers, airline industry folks, marketers and tech geeks. IFE News doesn't create original content, but rather posts compelling editorial from global media outlets.

Virgin Chases Business Travelers with Tablets and New Planes

Virgin Chases Business Travelers with Tablets and New Planes

Virgin Australia will step up its chase for a larger slice of business travellers and has signalled its intention to one day expand its international flying, with the arrival of two factory-fresh Airbus A330-200s in May.

The wide-bodied aircraft feature a new business class and will be used primarily on services from Sydney and Melbourne to Perth, as the mining boom fuels demand for workers heading to the West Australian capital.

The airline also this week launched a trial of Samsung Galaxy tablet computers to provide entertainment to business class travellers.

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While the two A330s – which are due to enter service on May 15 – have been earmarked for the Australian domestic market, Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti says the aircraft have been designed with an on-board product good enough to fly internationally.

Moreover, the A330-200’s range meant the aircraft was capable of reaching cities such as Tokyo, Mumbai, Beijing and Honolulu from Australia and therefore “ideally suited” for international flights.

“We have got the flexibility of putting it domestically or internationally depending how the market is, depending on where our needs are,” Mr Borghetti said in an interview during a media visit of the aircraft at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse on Monday afternoon (local time).

Virgin has forged alliances with four global carriers, including Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and Delta Air Lines, and Mr Borghetti said any decision on whether to use the A330s on overseas routes would be made in consultation with those partners.

The two A330s feature 24 lie-flat seats in a two-two-two configuration in business class and 255 seats in economy, with on demand in-flight entertainment, power points for every passenger and soft mood lighting.

Virgin’s brand director Hans Hulsbosch said the new A330 product was designed with a clean, simple and bold look.

An Airbus A330-200 costs $US208.6 million ($A202.89 million) at list prices. However, airlines typically receive discounts – which are rarely disclosed – from those published prices.

Virgin Australia has ordered four of these new A330s, with three to arrive in calendar 2012.

Figures from Virgin’s results presentation in February showed corporate and government accounts now comprised 17 per cent of the airline’s total revenue, up from 13 per cent at the end of 2010/11 and approaching Mr Borghetti’s target of 20 per cent.

Virgin launched business across most of its network in January 2011 and Mr Borghetti said the response from the market had been better than expected.

“On some routes it absolutely exceeds where I thought we would be in 12 months,” he said.

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