Hot on the heels of the announcement last week that rival Qantas had reached a deal for an increase in baggage allowance for musicians, Virgin Australia have announced they plan on holding a summit with bodies representing the music business to foster closer ties.

Qantas have been playing catch-up for some time now after the Virgin caught them on the back foot last year at BIGSOUND announcing the industry first baggage deal for bands.

Speaking to Industrial Strength on The Music Network, Virgin Australia’s group executive, people, Richard Tanner said “We have always viewed this as a genuine partnership with the music industry. Virgin Australia has a long-term commitment to working with, and supporting, the industry.”

“It’s important that we regularly sit down and talk with our partner organisations to ensure we are on the right track; that we are being responsive to their needs; and that they understand important operational issues we need to consider,” he continued.

“This partnership is a great fit for us and we want to see it grow in a way that works for everyone — meetings like this are an important part of that process.”

The airline is apparently calling the summit to lo0k into increasing the amount of Australian music played in-flight, and to extend the domestic baggage allowance deal it announced last year to international flights too.

According to Tanner the feedback Virgin Australia has received since announcing the deal has been “overwhelming positive” and that “at all levels of the airline, our people are excited about the relationship with artists and the industry, and that is being reflected in our level of service every day.”

Industrial Strength expects those who signed on as partners in the baggage deal will comprise the bulk of invitees including members of Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) — which represents state associations as QMusic, WAM, Music Victoria, MusicNSW, Music NT and Contemporary Music Services Tasmania.

Other associations such as Live Performance Australia, APRA, AIR, ARIA, the Association of Artist Managers, the Country Music Association of Australia and the Musician’s Union are also expected to be involved.

“We are committed to continuing the strong working relationship we have with the industry bodies that we are currently partnering with,” Tanner added.

“We’re confident that group of organisations represents a very broad cross-section of the industry — from emerging artists to promoters — and can help us understand the changing needs of the industry and what we can do to support artists.”

“We would certainly not rule out expanding that network of organisations, however.”

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