There’s nothing late about Virgin Blue’s lobbying
efforts to keep Singapore Airlines out of the Australia-US route, as Michelle
writes this morning. Virgin’s been a Qantas ally against Singapore for

And the reason isn’t just because of any ambition by
Virgin to fly the Pacific route itself. It is much more fundamental and
strategic than that.

What would really scare Virgin is the possibility
that, if Singapore Airlines won Sydney-LA rights, it might have the incentive
to dust off the plans it still has tucked away in a bottom drawer to start up a
domestic feeder service on the main trunk routes.

There would be enormous hurdles to such a prospect –
not the least of which is terminal space in Sydney – but it
remains a possibility that would make life for Virgin Blue very difficult

And I somehow suspect Qantas wouldn’t be too thrilled
either. All the commentary has been on the profits Qantas would lose on the
Pacific, but the a quality competitor on
the rich domestic trunk routes would be devastating.