Category Archives: Virgin Australia Airlines

Virgin Australia announces a new international route from Cairns to Tokyo Haneda

Virgin Australia has capped off a huge year, announcing a new international route with a daily return Cairns-Tokyo (Haneda) service taking off on June 28, 2023. The highly anticipated route, operating for the first time, is being launched in partnership with the Queensland Government and Cairns Airport through the Queensland Government’s Attracting Aviation Investment Fund.

To further bolster flight access between Australia and Japan, Virgin Australia will strengthen its strategic partnership with All Nippon Airways (ANA), the largest airline in Japan and a trusted and long-standing Japanese carrier, creating greater value and choice for the airline’s customers.

The partnership will not only see Virgin Australia and ANA provide members of the airline’s Velocity and ANA Mileage Club frequent flyer programs reciprocal loyalty benefits throughout 2023 and beyond when travelling on each carrier, but greater codeshare flight access between the countries.

Virgin Australia plans to operate the route using new Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 aircraft.

This announcement wraps up an extraordinary year for Virgin Australia which returned to profitability following completion of the first stage of the airline’s transformation program and recently celebrated Velocity’s 11-million member milestone. Since international borders re-opened 12 months ago, the airline has resumed flights to Bali, Fiji, and Queenstown, with Vanuatu, Samoa and Tokyo commencing in the first half of 2023. Today the airline also celebrates the first flight from Adelaide to Bali departing at 5:50pm local time, with plans to commence Australia’s first ever Gold Coast to Bali service on 29 March 2023.

*Subject to regulatory approval.

Virgin Australia aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Australia launches a middle seat lottery

Virgin Australia has made this announcement:

  • Virgin Australia has launched its first customer innovation, the Middle Seat Lottery, since yesterday announcing the airline’s new brand and advertising platform, Bring on Wonderful.
  • To celebrate the launch at Melbourne Airport this morning, Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka surprised all guests who were seated in middle seats on a flight to Adelaide with over $350,000 USD worth of FREE Virgin Voyages cruises.
  • The Middle Seat Lottery follows a 24-month transformation of the airline which returns Virgin Australia to profitability.
  • The Middle Seat Lottery will run until 23 April 2023, transforming middle seats on the airline’s domestic flights from the least favourite to the most fun and wonderful. Guests who sit in the middle seat will have a chance to win one of the extraordinary prizes on offer, with a new prize and winner every week.1
  • To mark this significant milestone, Virgin Australia has dropped over 800,000 airfares from as low as $55~ one-way (Economy Lite) from Sydney to Byron in the airline’s Bring on Wonderful sale.

Virgin Australia has aunched its first customer innovation, the Middle Seat Lottery, since yesterday announcing a new brand and advertising campaign, Bring on Wonderful, following a 24-month transformation journey which returns the airline to profitability.

Bring on Wonderful sets a foundation to elevate every part of the customer journey when flying with Virgin Australia, starting with the middle seat which has been a bug bear for travellers since the dawn of aviation.

The Middle Seat Lottery literally turns Virgin Australia middle seats into wonderful lottery tickets.1The middle seat, which has always struggled for popularity, will be transformed into the luckiest seat on the plane with more than $230,000 worth of prizes up for grabs throughout the competition, for guests who either select or who are assigned a middle seat when flying with Virgin Australia until Sunday 23 April 2023.

Through a social media survey in May 2022, Virgin Australia discovered that travellers are least likely to choose the middle seat, with less than 1 per cent intentionally selecting the middle seat as their first seat preference*.

As at May 2022, 62 per cent of Velocity Frequent Flyer members who nominated their seat preference favoured the aisle, 35 per cent the window and just 3 per cent nominating “any seat”**.

For each week of the competition, one winner will be randomly selected from guests who enter the Middle Seat Lottery, winning one of 26 unique and wonderful prizes. Prizes up-for-grabs include:

  • Platinum Velocity Frequent Flyer Status plus one million Points.
  • A cruise in the Caribbean with Virgin Voyages, including return Premium Economy flights to the USA with United Airlines.
  • Flights and tickets to your AFL team’s away games in 2023.
  • Flights to Melbourne plus entry to the AFL ‘Before the Bounce’ pre-game lunch, AFL Grand Final seats, a pre-game boundary line experience, merchandise and entry to the AFL Grand Final after party.
  • A helicopter pub crawl extravaganza, including return flights to Darwin.
  • Cairns adventure package including accommodation, return flights, and a range of thrilling adventures – Bungy jumping, giant swinging, river rafting or tubing in the great Barron River.

The full prize list can be viewed here.

How to enter the Middle Seat Lottery in three easy steps

  1. Be a Velocity Frequent Flyer member, aged 18 years or older;
  2. Fly in any middle seat on a Virgin Australia-operated domestic flight by Sunday 23 April 2023;
  3. Open the Virgin Australia app and tap the Middle Seat Lottery tile to find your flight and enter your details. Entrants must enter the competition within 48 hours of their flight’s scheduled departure time.

Winners will be contacted via email after each week’s draw. Those who aren’t already Velocity Frequent Flyer members can join for free, here.

To celebrate the launch of the Middle Seat Lottery, Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka surprised an entire flight of unsuspecting travellers flying on VA219 from Melbourne to Adelaide today (Monday 24/10), with each guest seated in a middle seat receiving a Virgin Voyages sailing valued at up to $5,999 USD (total value given away today is USD $350,000+). Virgin Australia ensured no one went home empty-handed, offering each aisle and window seat passenger 10,000 Velocity Points.

Virgin Australia 24-month major transformation 

Bring on Wonderful comes as Virgin Australia continues its ongoing business transformation, which returns the airline to profitability this financial year. To date, the transformation journey has consisted of hundreds of projects since Virgin Australia was relaunched in November 2020. The transformation program has enabled the airline to increase its fleet size by over 60 per cent, as well as hire thousands of new team members, refresh its catering offering, reimagine its brand and customer experience to provide more value and choice, forge significant partnerships, restructure its costs to enable great value airfares, commit to target net zero emissions by 2050 and more.

Transformation highlights and results since November 2020:

  • Since November 2020, Virgin Australia has restructured its cost base and completely transformed the commercial function of the airline, removing over $300 million in annual costs;
  • 2,000+ new team members hired, including all previously stood down team members given the opportunity to re-join the business;
  • Airfare pricing restructured, resulting in better value Economy and Business Class airfares with some of Virgin Australia’s domestic Economy fares up to 30 per cent better value than the airline’s nearest competitor and Business Class fares almost 60 per cent better value than the same competitor^;
  • Committed to a net-zero emissions target by 2050 as part of ongoing efforts towards more sustainable flying;
  • Simplified the airline’s business model to largely include a single Boeing 737 fleet type which has allowed Virgin Australia to grow its fleet size by more than 60 per cent. The simplification also included the restructure of a Boeing 737 MAX-10 aircraft order, as well as the order of eight MAX-8 aircraft, anchoring the airline’s sustainable pathway to 2050;
  • Launched a host of significant customer improvements, including the re-opening of domestic Lounges, onboard Wi-Fi, new menus, including a reverse kids’ meal where children can eat the dessert first, and partnerships with 7-Eleven, Boost Juice, Betty’s Burgers, Myer and P.E Nation;
  • Restarted international flying to Bali and Fiji, with additional international destinations to come (Queenstown in November 2022, and Vanuatu and Samoa in March 2023);
  • Worked to improve integration of Velocity Frequent Flyer with the Virgin Australia business, with the Velocity membership base set to hit 11 million members by year’s end;
  • Launched Virgin Australia Business Flyer to provide greater value and rewards to Australian small and medium sized businesses. Thousands of businesses have since joined the program;
  • Transformed the airline’s Digital and IT systems, including a $300 million investment in new technology and website upgrades, resulting in a 70+ per cent increase in direct bookings via;
  • Implemented a paid marketing search and performance strategy, resulting in Virgin Australia moving to the number-one ranked Australian travel company on Google;
  • Restructured the discount airfare model for corporate travellers, resulting in the recontracting of over 450 large corporate accounts who now receive greater value airfares when they fly;
  • Launched new partnerships with United Airlines and Qatar Airways, growing total international network reach to over 500 destinations around the globe.
  • Achieved significant improvements in operations with on time performance stable and cancellation rates back to pre-pandemic levels.

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL N341CG (VH-VUI) (msn 34441) HNL (Ivan K. Nishimura). Image: 956951.

Virgin Australia aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Australia expands Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet and secures access to full-flight simulator in Perth

Virgin Australia has made this announcement:

  • Virgin Australia has announced four additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will join its fleet with delivery starting in the second half of 2023, increasing capacity in line with the airline’s fleet growth program and journey towards Net Zero.
  • Virgin Australia has secured priority access to a Boeing 737NG full-flight simulator in Perth which will deliver a 25 per cent increase in domestic training capacity for more than 200 pilots based in Western Australia who are retraining on the aircraft type as the airline continues its growth of Boeing 737 aircraft.
  • Simulator access will be available as soon as April 2023 through a long-term partnership with global aviation training provider CAE.
  • With the airline relaunching less than two years ago, Virgin Australia has marked another major milestone this week, celebrating growing its workforce to over 7,000 team members.

Virgin Australia Group has announced four additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and priority access to a Boeing 737NG full-flight simulator that will be deployed in Jandakot, near Perth, as part of a long-term partnership with global aviation training provider CAE.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which are in addition to another four MAX 8 aircraft announced in April 2022, will reduce emissions by 15 per cent per flight* and play an important part in Virgin Australia’s Net Zero journey. These additional aircraft support capacity increases in-line with Virgin Australia’s broader growth strategy bringing total Boeing 737 fleet to 92 (consisting of 737-700s, 737-800s and Boeing MAX 8s) an increase of nearly 60 per cent since relaunching in November 2020. First delivery of the additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft is expected in 2023.

Virgin Australia aircraft photo Gallery:

Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia unveil a new strategic partnership


Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia have unveiled a new strategic partnership that will significantly expand both airlines’ networks, lounges and loyalty programmes.

Commencing mid-year, the partnership will give travellers greater access, unparalleled customer experience and unique benefits when travelling between Australia and Qatar Airways’ global network, with convenient transit options across Qatar Airways’ Australian gateways and key Virgin Australia hubs, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The strategic alliance will provide a critical trade and tourism boost for Australia, while opening a world of new travel opportunities for both airline’s customers.

The partnership agreement was announced at the start of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, where Qatar Airways has a significant presence.

Qatar Airways currently operates daily flights into Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth as well as three weekly flights into Adelaide continuing into Auckland, New Zealand. Thanks to the new codeshare agreement, Qatar Airways’ passengers will be able to travel seamlessly to 35 destinations on Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network, including key popular Australian tourist destinations, including Cairns, Gold Coast, Alice Springs and Broome, on a single booking. Qatar Airways’ passengers will also have access to Virgin Australia’s recently relaunched short-haul international markets, including Fiji and Queenstown, New Zealand.  Similarly, Virgin Australia customers and members of the airline’s award-winning Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty program, will be able to directly access Qatar Airways’ route network of over 140 worldwide destinations, including the Middle East, Europe and Africa, via the airline’s hub and Skytrax-rated ‘World’s Best Airport’, Hamad International in Doha.

For Virgin Australia guests, access to Qatar Airways’ extensive network provides one-stop connectivity to a wide range of destinations and the ability to book Qatar Airways flights through the Virgin Australia website. Qatar Airways serves 54 cities in Europe with over 600 flights per week, offering a huge range of new choices for Virgin Australia customers. Likewise, Qatar Airways passengers can book flights through into the Virgin Australia network through

The strategic partnership will also include reciprocal loyalty benefits allowing Qatar Airways Privilege Club members to earn and redeem Avios when flying on Virgin Australia, with similar benefits for Velocity members when travelling on Qatar Airways’ services. Privilege Club and Velocity members will also enjoy a wide range of other unique benefits, depending on status tier, such as complimentary lounge access, complimentary extra baggage allowance, priority check-in, priority boarding and priority baggage delivery when flying respectively on Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways. Qatar Airways Privilege Club recently enhanced its programme through its partnership with Avios, significantly expanding accrual and redemption opportunities for its members.

The partnership with Virgin Australia builds on Qatar Airways’ long-term commitment to connecting Australia to the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar Airways was the only airline consistently operating international services to Australia, providing critical links for Australians to return home.

Virgin Australia to add four new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, will retire all Fokker 100s

Virgin Australia Group has taken an important step in its journey towards Net Zero, unveiling the first phase of its fleet growth program which will see four new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft introduced to its network and Fokker 100 aircraft retired from service and replaced by Boeing 737-700s. 

The four new MAX 8 aircraft, scheduled to start entering service from February 2023, will reduce emissions by 15% per journey in comparison to current 737 NG aircraft. Each 737-700 will fly more passengers for a similar amount of fuel than each F100, resulting in 30% less emissions per seat per trip.

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the fleet program is part of a broader growth strategy which will see the Boeing 737 fleet, currently consisting of 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft, increase to 88 with the inclusion of 4 MAX 8 aircraft in response to increasing demand.

“We are on track to return to 100% of pre-COVID domestic capacity by June this year and expect to well exceed those levels by year’s end, and our resources sector and contract flying in WA is in high demand. This investment in our fleet reflects the increased demand we are experiencing in all parts of Virgin Australia,” Ms Hrdlicka said.

“With growth comes a larger carbon footprint, so it’s vital that we take the right steps now to ensure that as we do more flying, we are also working to reduce our emissions.

“We have a younger average fleet age than other airlines operating in the Australian market and we are in a good position to phase out our older F100 aircraft for more fuel-efficient options.

“This fleet program is about making sure we capitalize upon that advantage as we work toward achieving our 33% domestic market share, strengthen our resources sector and contract flying, and continue on our journey to Net Zero.”

Since it’s re-launch in November 2020 the Virgin Australia Group has announced it will grow its 737 fleet by over 50%, from 58 aircraft to 88. The Group currently operates 10 x F100 aircraft across its operations in Western Australia, with the F100 fleet to be gradually transitioned out and replaced by 737-700s from first quarter 2023.  

As part of a future phase of its fleet program Virgin Australia Group has an additional 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft on order, which will transport more passengers for a similar amount of fuel to current 737 NG aircraft, resulting in 17% less emissions per seat per trip.

“Existing F100 flight and cabin crew, VARA engineering and support staff and corporate and operations functions will be progressively trained to operate and maintain a 737 NG fleet, both as F100 aircraft are retired and as the airline continues to grow its WA resources sector and contract flying business.”

In addition to its 737 fleet, Virgin Australia Group will also continue to operate Airbus A320 aircraft as part of its resources sector and contract flying operations.

Virgin Australia announced its commitment to Net Zero Emissions by 2050 in November last year. In addition to its fleet program the airline is also actively building out its wider sustainability strategy, including investigating operational efficiencies, the use of alternative fuels, and waste management and carbon offsetting programs.

Virgin Australia Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

United Airlines and Virgin Australia Group announce a new partnership

United and Virgin Australia Group announced today a new partnership that will enhance the travel experience between Australia and the Americas. This partnership will add more benefits for both MileagePlus and Velocity Frequent Flyer members as well as access to more one-stop connections to cities across the United StatesAustraliaMexico, the Caribbean, and South America. The agreement, which is subject to government approval, is set to roll out starting in early 2022.

United currently offers daily direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney, while other services including flights from Houston and direct services to Melbourne are expected to resume later in 2022. Under this new partnership, United’s customers will now have access to top Australian destinations including BrisbanePerth and Adelaide.

In addition to the ability to redeem and earn points/miles, eligible premier MileagePlus and Velocity members will also receive the following benefits when flying on United and Virgin Australia worldwide:

  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority baggage delivery and additional baggage check allowance
  • Priority security clearance
  • Lounge access

The partnership will also triple Virgin Australia’s reach into the U.S., with customers accessing United’s vast domestic and international network, connecting at United’s multiple Australian gateways.

The partnership is another significant customer enhancement for the relaunched Virgin Australia, that will also see the airline resume the sale of codeshare flights at, starting with United services in early 2022, followed by the airline’s other international partners. Virgin Australia first paused the sale of codeshare flights on its website at the height of the pandemic, and today’s announcement will open a new gateway for travel between Australia and the U.S. and beyond.

Virgin Australia to restart Sydney-Canberra services under new exclusive agreement

Virgin Australia has made this announcement:

  • Virgin Australia will relaunch services between Sydney and Canberra from January 30, 2022, using Link Airways aircraft and crew.
  • The services will operate 53 times per week, with up to 9 flights per day on weekdays, adding up to 16,250 seats between the two cities each month.
  • Fares can be purchased from today at
  • All Virgin Australia fares include Velocity Frequent Flyer Points and up to double Status Credits^ as part of an ongoing loyalty promotion.
  • Passengers can change or cancel to travel credit with no fees for all domestic travel up to 30 April 2022*.

Virgin Australia will resume flights between Sydney and Canberra from January 30, 2022, with more than 50 services available between the two capital cities each week, under an exclusive agreement with Link Airways.


The services, which were first paused in April 2020 at the height of the pandemic, will be operated using Link Airways’ SAAB 340 B Plus aircraft and crew, with up to 9 flights per weekday.

The agreement with Link Airways will extend the Virgin Australia domestic network reach into markets like Sydney-Canberra that its’ own 737-800 aircraft cannot serve effectively.

As the airline quickly ramps up capacity across domestic and short-haul international services it will continue to evaluate new destinations and opportunities to connect Australia.

Since September, Virgin Australia has launched 15 new services, some of which have never been operated in the airline’s 21-year history, as the revitalized business takes flight under new ownership.



Virgin Australia expands its domestic network

Virgin Australia continues to expand its domestic network launching three new services in time for summer holidays, including the first commercial service linking Launceston and the Gold Coast in more than two decades

Launceston – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Launceston*

Hobart – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Hobart*

Cairns – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Cairns

Scheduled to take off in early December, the three new routes will allow over 19,000 additional passengers to fly each month between Gold Coast, Hobart and Launceston, providing a boost to local business and the tourism sector and allowing more Virgin Australia team members to return to the skies.

The announcement includes the first commercial service connecting Launceston and the Gold Coast in two decades, which will operate three times per week, and allow for up to 4,224 additional passengers each month to fly directly between the two cities.

New services:

Route Commencement date Frequency Seats per month
Cairns – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Cairns 9 December 2021 Up to daily service 9,856
Launceston – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Launceston (seasonal service only) 7 December 2021 3 times per week

(Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday)

Hobart – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Hobart

(seasonal service only)

13 December 2021 4 times per week

(Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday)


*Seasonal services. Launceston-Gold Coast between 07 December 2021 – 25 April 2022. Hobart-Gold Coast between 13 Dec 2021 – 30 Jan 2022.

Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIL (msn 38713) DPS (Pascal Simon). Image: 955167.

Above Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIL (msn 38713) DPS (Pascal Simon). Image: 955167.

Virgin Australia Airlines aircraft slide show:

Virgin Australia launches more Tasmanian services

Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIT (msn 38717) DPS (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955168.

Virgin Australia will introduce two new direct Hobart services, as the airline continues to expand its network schedule in markets with open borders ahead of the Christmas holiday period.

The services include the introduction of direct flights between Hobart – Adelaide, with the first flight taking off on October 22, 2021, and the resumption of services between Hobart and Perth between October 29, 2021 and April 25, 2022.

The news follows a number of other network announcements made by Virgin Australia in the past month, including the commencement of two new Launceston services as the airline pivots to reconnect Australia in new ways.

Virgin Australia Group Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Alistair Hartley said today’s announcement will reconnect more Australians in time for Christmas.

“Virgin Australia continues to look for new ways to expand our network schedule to create more travel opportunities for Australians where free movement across borders is permitted. That’s why we’re proud to announce the launch of services between Hobart, and Adelaide and Perth in time for Christmas,” said Mr Hartley.

New services:

Adelaide – Hobart / Hobart – Adelaide 4 services per week

(Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)

5,600 22 October 2021

Re-introduced services

Hobart – Perth / Perth – Hobart 3 services per week

(Monday, Friday, Sunday)

4,200 29 October 2021 to 25 April 2022

Services launched this month:

Perth – Launceston / Launceston – Perth 3 services per week

(Monday, Friday, Sunday)

4,200 5 November 2021 to 30 January 2022
Adelaide – Launceston /

Launceston – Adelaide

3 services per week

(Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)

4,200 7 September 2021

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIT (msn 38717) DPS (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955168.

Virgin Australia aircraft slide show: