History: Virgin Australia was launched as Virgin Blue in August 2000, with two Boeing 737-400 aircraft.Initially offering seven return flights a day between Brisbane and Sydney. The timing of Virgin Blue's entry into the Australian market was fortunate as it was able to fill the vacuum created by the failure of Ansett Australia in September 2001. Ansett's failure allowed Virgin to grow rapidly to become Australia's second domestic carrier.
As the airline grew, it acquired new equipment, enabling it to phase-out its older 737-400s in favour of 737-700 and -800 series aircraft. As at June 2013 Air New Zealand owned 23% of the company. In 2004Virgin Blue previously used a familiar formula pioneered by airlines such as Southwest Airlines and Ryanair of eliminating costs such as included in-flight meals and printed tickets in favour of selling food on-board and using telephone and internet booking systems. This strategy changed with the introduction of a second type into the fleet. The airline ordered 20 Embraer E-jets, in a mix of six E170s and 14 E190s. These were ordered specifically so that the airline could re-enter the Sydney–Canberra market that it abandoned in 2004, and to fly to less populous areas. The first E-170 arrived in Australia in September 2007. These were placed on services from Sydney to Canberra, Mackay in Queensland, and the New South Wales regional centres of Port Macquarie and Albury.
In 2006, in an effort to compete with Qantas, Virgin Blue started exploring relationships, forming frequent flyer agreements with Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines and Malaysia Airlines amongst other national airlines. In 2008, premium economy class was introduced throughout its entire fleet. New seating was installed in the first three rows of the cabin. The premium product offered priority check-in, larger baggage allowance, lounge access, priority boarding, increased legroom and all-inclusive in flight entertainment, meals and beverages on board. In May 2011The airline announced its intention to operate Airbus A330 aircraft between Perth and the East Coast. On 20 January 2011, Air New Zealand announced it would take a shareholding stake of between 10% and 14.99% in Virgin Blue. Virgin Blue announced its intention to operate up to seven flights a week to the U.S. Instead of using its existing brand, Virgin Blue launched a fully owned subsidiary with a separate Air Operator's Certificate, named V Australia as the result of a public naming competition, with a fleet of five specifically branded 777-300ERs.The airline launched flights between Sydney and Los Angeles in 2009, followed by flights from Melbourne and Brisbane. Also new flights were introduced to Abu Dhabi, following the consolidation of Virgin Blue's codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways.
In February 2011, the re-brand was confirmed when the airline announced that the word 'Blue' would be dropped from its name as part of a campaign to attract more business travellers away from rival Qantas. This came shortly after the unveiling of new crew uniforms and business-class seats. The airline stated that the re-brand would proceed in stages and would reportedly include a new fleet livery and the renaming of the other Virgin Blue Group airlines as well. On 4 May 2011, the former Virgin Blue revealed its new name, Virgin Australia. In addition to the new name, branding and livery, the airline also showed off its new flagship the Airbus A330. Pacific Blue and V Australia were both folded into the new Virgin Australia brand, following an agreement with former Virgin Atlantic shareholder Singapore Airlines.
In October 2011, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approved a proposed code-share alliance between Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Virgin Australia. On 31 May 2016, Chinese aviation holding company HNA Group agreed to purchase 13% of Virgin Australia Holdings which ultimately intends to increase to 19.99%. The deal also created a codeshare partnership between Virgin Australia and Chinese airlines in which HNA Group holds shares, on routes between Australia and China. Virgin intends to launch flights between Australian destinations and Beijing and Hong Kong by 2017 to consolidate the agreement.