I just received a communication from Singapore Airlines informing that starting 1 July 2016, KrisFlyer members will not be able to earn any KrisFlyer élite miles on Virgin Atlantic operated flights between the Americas and Europe. You are although eligible to earn KrisFlyer élite miles on the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s non-transatlantic flight network. Do note that KrisFlyer élite miles count towards your KrisFlyer status and are different from the redeemable miles accrued via travel and credit cards etc.
I see this as a fallout from the Delta trying to exert more control over the lucrative trans-Atlantic sector run by Virgin in direct competition with British Airways. With the latest announcement of aligning of Delta and Virgin schedules between this route, this fallout was inevitable. Singapore Airlines as such also is not a comfortable spot with regards to its relationship with Virgin branded airlines. First it sold off the Virgin Atlantic stake at a substantial loss and now with Hainan group acquiring new stake in Virgin Australia, SQ doesn’t seem to have much options left.
As per the announcement the following alignment will take place:
- A new four times a week Portland, Oregon to London Heathrow seasonal service will begin on May 26, 2017, the first between this U.S. West Coast city and London.
- Beginning March 26, 2017, the airline will add a second Detroit to London Heathrow service. This new flight replaces Virgin Atlantic’s daily Detroit to London Heathrow service.
- The airline will fly a third Atlanta to London Heathrow frequency, taking over the second daily service currently operated by Virgin Atlantic, beginning May 25, 2017. Virgin Atlantic will continue to operate one daily Atlanta to London Heathrow service.
For Virgin Atlantic:
- Beginning March 26, 2017, the airline will start flying between Seattle and London Heathrow, replacing the daily service currently operated by Delta.
- A daily nonstop service between New York-JFK and Manchester will commence May 25, 2017 replacing the service currently operated by Delta. Delta will resume service for the winter 2017.”
Singapore Airlines should focus on its own group of airlines and try to combine all this fragmentation that it is grappling with. I understand the need to keep stake in the Australian market as the local player acts as a feeder and helpful in competing with the local giant but everywhere else it’s becoming a losing battle for the airline to not have a formidable strategy to counter its competition.