The Virgin Group has brought its three Australasia brands under a single brand umbrella that reflects the name of the group. V Australia and Pacific Blue are now Virgin Australia and Polynesian Blue – the group’s joint venture with the Government of Samoa – is Virgin Samoa.

This is the first rebranding exercise for the airline since it entered the region’s aviation market a decade ago. The Virgin group rescued the Samoan government owned Polynesian Airline, which was in a deepening financial crisis, when it struck a joint venture Public-Private Partnership (PPP) deal with the Government of Samoa. The first flights took off from Auckland and Sydney to Apia on October 31, 2005.

The venture has three partners – The Samoan government and the Australian Stock Exchange listed Virgin Blue Holdings owning 49 per cent each and a minority 2 per cent stake being held by iconic Samoan hotel group Aggie Grey’s. The joint venture has been hailed as one of the best examples of a PPP in the aviation industry anywhere in the world. Several countries around the world have studied the model.

The establishment of Polynesian Blue and its new pricing strategy spawned a whole new segment of tourism in Samoa – backpacker tourism. The airline’s low pricing helped drive up visitor numbers and Samoa crossed 100,000 tourists within just a couple of years.

Since its inception, the airline has operated with a single Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which has now received its new Virgin Samoa livery. A communiqué from the Airline has said bookings for travel with Virgin Australia and Virgin Samoa will not be affected as a result of the rebranding exercise.

The communiqué says the names and logos of its frequent flyer and holidays programme will remain the same. However, the V Australia, Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue website addresses will be replaced with a single URL: www.virginaustralia.com

Photo / Australian Business Traveller (www.ausbt.com.au)

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