Virgin Australia Airlines, formerly Virgin Blue 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, Queensland, Australia, the airline was co-founded by British businessman Sir Richard Branson 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,Sydney and Melbourne, using a fleet of narrow-body Boeing and Embraer jets; and Airbus and Boeing wide body jets.
After several years operating as a low-cost carrier it improved its services to become a so-called (self-described) "new world carrier" – essentially a business model with aspects of the "no frills" approach of low-cost carriers but offering services more in line with full-service airlines in order to compete more effectively with Qantas in the business travel market.
In 2011 it took the strategy further with new uniforms; new catering on board; new wide body aircraft to compete with Qantas on Perth – Sydney services; and the concurrent introduction of business class; together with a new livery and a renaming to Virgin Australia.