Jury is on Virgin’s mid-market plan, says TWU – Australian Aviation

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine told the Australian Aviation Podcast that the “jury is still out” on Virgin’s plans to become a hybrid carrier.

“Virgin needs to better articulate what the middle market means,” Kaine said. “Because it is of great concern to the workforce that it cannot be done. “

The influential industry figure was speaking to welcome Adam Thorn in the episode which is scheduled to go live on Thursday.

The airline has been adamant since leaving administration that it will not revert to its budget Virgin Blue routes, but questions have been raised as to whether it could pull off the strategy after the departure of its architect, the former CEO Paul Scurrah.

Kaine reiterated that he believes Virgin’s intentions are genuine, but hinted that more work needs to be done to make it a success.

“There’s one thing crazier than going all the way to Qantas at the top of the market, and that’s thinking you’re going to beat them at the bottom of the market,” Kaine said.

“Yes, you have to hit the sweet spot in the middle. But the sweet spot in the middle means you still need to have an attractive offer for the Australian leisure and business markets.

“They want lounges, a good loyalty system, a points system that connects perfectly with international travel when it becomes available again. And they want the ability to travel regionally.

“And if Virgin wants political support in its efforts to become a really, really vital airline in Australia, again, it needs to make sure it reaches all of these brands.

“All of this means that the middle market means something more than a kind of hedging of your bets. You have to be viable, and at the moment I think the jury is still out on that point. “

The surprise exit of former chief executive Scurrah in November 2020 was significant because it was synonymous with the airline’s plan to operate as a mid-range ‘hybrid’.

However, his replacement Jayne Hrdlicka also insisted that the company will continue on the same path, despite reducing its fleet from 737s from 85 to 56.

“Australia already has a low cost carrier and a traditional full-service airline, and neither will we,” Hrdlicka said on his first day.

“Today we announced a plan that will give our customers what they value without the high price tag: premium lounges, a new onboard retail offering, choice of staterooms, better digital technology and more streamlined registration. to live.”

The airline also reaffirmed its intention to operate a network of national lounges that includes Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast.

On Tuesday, it even unveiled its “living room of the future” in Adelaide, which features cinder block walls, canopy ceilings, large, bright spaces and durable furniture.

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Virgin Wines stock market plan unveiled | Robotic glove improves muscle grip

Home delivery wine retailer Virgin Wines unveiled plans for an IPO next month after surging demand amid the pandemic.

The online group said it plans to list on London’s AIM junior market on or around March 2, in a move that would have valued the group at around £ 100million.

It comes amid a wave of flotation in 2021, with many companies taking advantage of changing consumer trends during the coronavirus crisis – such as food delivery giant Deliveroo and greeting card company in Moonpig line.

Virgin Wines said it delivered over a million cases of wine to customers last year amid increasing demand from stranded Brits and pubs and restaurants forced to close for much of the year. year.

The group said subscriptions now accounted for nearly three-quarters – 73% – of its annual sales, with around 147,000 of its 169,000 customers now subscribed.

READ MORE: Whiskey veteran Iain Lochhead to head biotech company Horizon Proteins

He wants to further exploit the non-trade wine market, which he says is worth some £ 2.4 billion a year.

Jay Wright, managing director of Virgin Wines, said the initial public offering (IPO) would mark an “exciting new chapter” for the company.

He said: “We have recently experienced strong and steady growth, which has enabled the group to deliver over one million cases of wine to consumers in 2020.

“Backed by the strength of our customer proposition as well as the benefits of many positive consumer trends, we have a clear strategy to continue this growth over the next few years. ”

Virgin Wines offers two subscription plans – WineBank, where members make monthly payments to an account to spread the cost of purchasing wine; and Wine Plan, which offers five deliveries of cases of 12 bottles of wine per year.

It also offers à la carte deliveries of 12-bottle cases for ad hoc customers.

The group said it saw revenue jump 55% year-on-year to £ 40.6million in the second half of 2020, with underlying profits jumping 196% to £ 4.5million thanks to the surge. of sales in the coronavirus crisis.

Virgin Wines was founded in 2000 by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group before being sold to Direct Wines five years later.

Mr. Wright – founder of the mail order wine company Warehouse Wines – and CFO Graeme Weir were appointed in 2008 and helped transform the previously loss-making business by focusing on subscription business.

In November 2013, the duo led a £ 15.9million takeover by the management of Virgin Wines, backed by private equity firms Mobeus Equity Partners and Connection Capital.

There have been disruptions since January 1.

Analysis: archaic trading system strangles UK exports

The so-called “teething problems” after leaving the European Union are turning out to be fundamental flaws in the system, writes Claire Taylor.

READ MORE: For a country claiming to be a global leader in innovation, it is obvious that UK exporters have to deal with cross-border trade with the EU using a mostly paper-based certification system.

HeraldScotland: BioLiberty co-founder Rowan Armstrong tests new gloveBioLiberty co-founder Rowan Armstrong tests the new glove

Robotic glove to increase muscle grip

Tech start-up BioLiberty aims to deploy a robotic glove to help people with MS and others master their day-to-day tasks after securing space in the Edinburgh Business School incubator.

READ MORE: The company, founded by four electronics engineering students in March of last year, hopes to complete a second prototype version of its glove in the coming months, which will give occupational therapists and other healthcare professionals the opportunity to comment on his performance.

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