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  • "Mystery Airline" Revealed
    Posted by Andrew Compart 7:50 PM on Mar 11, 2010

    Last March, in this Aviation Daily subscriber-only story, I wrote about an item on the agenda for the May 12-13 A La Carte Pricing Conference in Miami. The conference organizers, Airline Information, billed the session as a "Mystery Airline Case Study," in which an international airline would talk about a newly announced plan to revise its fare structure from traditonal pricing to one that was "completely a la carte." That meant, presumably, that all services such as checked bags and meals would be unbundled from the base fare.

    But, alas, the mystery remained a mystery. As I reported about a week before the conference began, the "Mystery Airline Case Study" was dropped from the schedule. Conference organizers said airline officials told them they had delayed implementation of the plan because of the recession and falling yields. Nothing ever happened, and I never was able to find out the identify of that "mystery" airline.

    That is, until now. I just discovered that the airline was going to be -- drum roll, please -- V Australia.

    So will this plan ever be implemented? Somehow, I doubt it, because the competitive situation for V Australia likely will soon change dramatically. Last July, Delta and the Virgin Blue Group, which includes V Australia, decided to seek antitrust immunity for a joint venture on services between the U.S. and Australia and the South Pacific. (That this happened so soon after the conference makes me wonder if the airline changed its plans and pulled out of the conference because the Delta deal was in the works.) Delta and the Virgin Blue carriers already have received immunity from Australian authorities, and the U.S. Transportation Dept. decision-making process is in its final stages. I can't see V Australia and Delta doing this in tandem, so I'm guessing my discovery of the mystery airline  will just, in essence, close the case.

    Tags: tw99, Virgin, VAustralia, fees

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