Virgin Australia Airlines is Australia's second-largest airline as well as the largest by fleet size to use the Virgin brand. Now based in Bowen Hills, Brisbane, the airline was co-founded by British businessman Richard Branson, the founder of parent Virgin Group and former Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey. It was established in 2000 with two aircraft operating on a single route, and suddenly found itself catapulted to the position of Australia's second airline after the collapse of Ansett Australia in September 2001. The airline has grown to directly serve 29 cities in Australia from hubs in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, using a fleet of narrow-body Boeing and Embraer jets; and Airbus and Boeing widebody jets.
After several years operating as a low-cost carrier it improved its services to become a so-called "New World Carrier" essentially a business model which offers the "guest" the choice of purchasing a ticket with aspects of the "no frills" approach of low-cost carriers or paying a little more to receive services more in line with full-service airlines to compete more effectively with Qantas in the business travel market. In 2011 it took this strategy further by introducing new uniforms; new catering options on board; new widebody aircraft to compete with Qantas on Perth, Melbourne, Sydney services; and the concurrent introduction of business class in January 2012, together with a new livery and renaming of the brand to Virgin Australia.
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