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Virgin Blue Says New Airline to Fly Sydney-LA Route

Australia's Virgin Blue Holdings said on Monday its new airline, V Australia, planned to start daily flights between Sydney and Los Angeles from December.

Virgin decision's comes after Australia and the United States opened up trans-Pacific air routes between the two countries last month. V Australia will become the second Australian airline after Qantas Airways to fly the route.

V Australia would start initial sales from Monday and is offering the first 1,000 international economy seats between Sydney and Los Angeles at a return airfare of A$999 (US$917). It said the regular fares would start from A$1,899.

V Australia will initially start with daily trans-Pacific services, with the intention of adding more after its takes delivery of new Boeing 777-330ER aircraft.

V Australia was also looking at other potential international destinations which would be announced in the coming weeks, Virgin Blue said in a statement.

Virgin said it would spend at least A$44 million on the new operation, with V Australia to have 1,000 staff based in Sydney.

Qantas has already responded to the prospect of greater competition on the lucrative route, adding new trans-Pacific services.

Virgin shares were down 1.2 percent at A$1.235 on Monday, Qantas was up 0.3 percent A$3.97, while the broader market was up 0.2 percent.