VIRGIN Blue and Middle East carrier Etihad are reported to be planning to expand their alliance, agreed in September, to help cut back-office costs and improve the efficiency of airport and maintenance services. The two airlines will also build a joint lounge at Sydney International Airport. Etihad CEO James Hogan hinted at further joint activities: “Whether it be training, whether it be purchasing, whether it be engineering support, whether it be moving forward on how we look at aircraft acquisitions, all those areas are on the table,” he said to a local newspaper. Virgin chief executive John Borghetti described the

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