V Australia, the forthcoming international arm of the Virgin Blue Group, has delayed its December launch due to a strike at Boeing’s Seattle factory.
The carrier had been due to commence direct flights from Sydney to Los Angeles on December 15, but the continuing workers’ strike means Boeing can no longer guarantee the delivery of its aircraft in time. V Australia has three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft “in advanced stage of production” at the factory in Seattle.
As a result the airline has pushed back its launch until Feburay 28, just days before it is due to commence a second route from Brisbane to LA. V Australia is in the process of contacting customers who had booked flights over the Christmas and New Year period, and says that if the industrial dispute is resolved “in the short term”, it will “move swiftly to bring forward V Australia’s start-up schedule”.
V Australia was formed following an Open Skies agreement between the US and Australia, and will offer a three-class economy, premium economy and business product across the pacific.
The Boeing strike (involving members of the company's International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers), has been going for over a month now, and has also led to low-cost carrier Ryanair cancelling flights on 21 routes to and from Birmingham due to the delayed delivery of Boeing 737 aircraft.
Report by Mark Caswell