Virgin Australia 737-800. By Rob Finlayson

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has approved the comprehensive integrated network alliance between Virgin Australia (VA) and Singapore Airlines (SIA) (ATW Daily News, Oct. 14).

On Thursday, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the alliance “is likely to lead to increased competition for international air passenger services."

Under the alliance, the airlines will cooperate on all aspects of their Australia-Singapore services and any international and domestic connecting routes, including joint pricing and scheduling, as well as joint marketing and sales.

"The ability to offer a comprehensive international and domestic network, along with enhanced frequent flyer and lounge products, is likely to be attractive to both corporate and government passengers," Sims said.

By the end of the year, VA and SIA will launch reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.

The Competition Commission of Singapore approved the tie-up in October (ATW Daily News, Oct. 24).

The ACCC approval is the final tick for VA’s virtual airline strategy and it will now be able to offer global flight coverage through alliances with Etihad Airways, Air New Zealand, Delta Air Lines and SIA, increasing its international reach from around 60 destinations to over 400 destinations worldwide.