Category Archives: Virgin Australia Airlines

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 http://www.qatarairways.com.

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:

Virgin Australia cancels a quarter of its flights

Virgin Australia Airlines has announced it has cancelled a quarter of its flights over the next two months as the Omicron has impacted its ability to staff flights.

Virgin Australia has suspended 10 routes starting in late January including the Sydney – Fiji route, its only international route.

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 virginaustralia.com, 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 virginaustralia.com
  • 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)

4,224
Hobart – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Hobart

(seasonal service only)

13 December 2021 4 times per week

(Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday)

5,632

*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:

ROUTE FREQUENCY SEATS PER MONTH COMMENCEMENT DATE
Adelaide – Hobart / Hobart – Adelaide 4 services per week

(Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)

5,600 22 October 2021

Re-introduced services

ROUTE FREQUENCY SEATS PER MONTH OPERATIONAL DATE
Hobart – Perth / Perth – Hobart 3 services per week

(Monday, Friday, Sunday)

4,200 29 October 2021 to 25 April 2022

Services launched this month:

ROUTE FREQUENCY SEATS PER MONTH OPERATIONAL DATE
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:

Virgin Australia launches inaugural Adelaide-Launceston services

Virgin Australia operated the first direct flights between Adelaide and Launceston in more than 20 years with the airline’s inaugural services take-off on September 7.

First announced last month with a series of Virgin Australia network changes to navigate border restrictions, the Adelaide-Launceston flights will operate three-times per week, connecting up to 4,200 travelers each month with some of the country’s best food and wine, culture and natural wonders. The direct services will also generate a much-needed boost to the local tourism industry, while allowing more Virgin Australia employees to return to the skies.

In addition, the airline also reintroduced services between Adelaide and Darwin on September 6.

Virgin Australia to add nine Boeing 737-800 aircraft, will require employee vaccinations

Virgin Australia will introduce nine additional Boeing 737-800 aircraft into its mainline fleet from October this year in preparation for an expected increase in domestic travel as vaccination rates rise and interstate borders open.

The aircraft are planned for operation over the peak summer season to accommodate expected holiday travel, with an aim for all nine to be in the air by mid-February 2022.

Virgin Australia has also commenced planning for the mid-2023 arrival of its first Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft, which will deliver greater operational efficiencies and enhanced product and design features for customers and the environment.

  • The nine Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft have specifications that are compatible with Virgin Australia’s existing fleet.
CURRENT MAINLINE FLEET

As at August, 2021

PLANNED MAINLINE FLEET

By March 2022

2 x Boeing 737-700

66 x Boeing 737-800

Total: 68

2 x Boeing 737-700

75 x Boeing 737-800

Total: 77

In other news, the airline also made this announcement:

  • Virgin Australia has announced that it is commencing consultation with employees and unions over its proposal to require COVID-19 vaccination for all team members, on the basis that vaccination is necessary to keep their people, customers and the wider Australian community safe.
  • A consultation process will commence shortly with relevant unions, employees and safety committees. Under the proposed policy, frontline team members will be required to be vaccinated by 15 November 2021, and all office-based team members by 31 March 2022.
  • Following consultation, and after we have considered feedback from employees and unions, a final policy will be announced next month.
  • Virgin Australia understands some team members have concerns and questions and has established an education campaign to assure and inform as many employees as possible ahead of 15 November 2021.
  • Virgin Australia will launch its VA-X & WIN competition for staff and customers this week to encourage all Australians to get behind vaccination.

Virgin Australia has announced that it is commencing consultation with unions and employees to require COVID-19 vaccination for all team members. The company believes that requiring vaccination is the best way to protect the health and safety of our workforce, and in turn the wider Australian community and everyone’s way of life.

A consultation process will commence shortly with relevant unions, employees and safety committees before Virgin Australia decides a final policy next month.

It is currently proposed that all frontline team members be vaccinated by 15 November 2021, and all office-based team members by 31 March 2022. Those with medical issues that can be substantiated will be managed on a case-by-case basis.

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said that recent events have demonstrated that it only takes one person to create a knock-on effect which creates significant impacts for our employees and the community more broadly.

Virgin Australia will continue to assist employees with securing vaccination appointments and provide flexible working arrangements, so team members can receive their vaccinations.

A recent survey of Virgin Australia team members found that over 75 per cent of our frontline workforce have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with another 9 per cent registered for vaccination.  In relation to our office-based workforce, who do not get the same priority access to vaccines as our frontline team members, over 56 per cent have had at least one dose, with another 27 per cent registered to be vaccinated.

Virgin Australia launches new routes

Virgin Australia has made this announcement:

  • Virgin Australia will juggle its network schedule to launch two new routes in time for the September school holiday period.
  • The new direct services will go on sale from today with introductory one-way Economy sale fares starting from $59 until midnight this Friday 13 August or until sold out.
  • Sale fares are available for select travel dates between September 2021 and June 2022.
  • Last chance for Velocity Frequent Flyer members to earn double Status Credits on eligible new bookings for travel up to 28 June 2022 with the offer ending midnight tomorrow (Tuesday 10 August).
  • Sales fares are available to be booked using travel credits and Future Flight credits.
  • Booking flexibility to change or cancel to travel credit with no fees, available for travel up to 28 February 2022

Virgin Australia will introduce two new direct services ahead of the September school holidays as the airline pivots its network schedule to reconnect Australia in new ways.

The new services, focussed on markets with open borders, include the resumption of flights between Adelaide – Darwin from 6 September and the introduction of a brand-new direct service, never before operated in the airline’s 21-year history, between Adelaide – Launceston, commencing on 7 September.

To kickstart the launch of the services, Virgin Australia is offering the following one-way Economy sale fares from today until midnight this Friday 13 August or until sold-out:

  • Adelaide – Launceston//Launceston – Adelaide from $59
  • Adelaide – Darwin//Darwin – Adelaide from $119

And for customers looking to travel at the pointy end, Virgin Australia will continue to sell their great value Business Class fares on these services:

  • Adelaide – Launceston//Launceston – Adelaide from $299
  • Adelaide – Darwin//Darwin – Adelaide from $529

Along with checked baggage and seat selection included in all airfares, Virgin Australia is also offering double Velocity Frequent Flyer Status Credits on all new eligible bookings (excluding Getaway fares) made by midnight tomorrow (Tuesday 10 August)[3].

Virgin Australia customers who hold travel credits or Future Flight credits are also encouraged to take advantage of the great value fares which are expected to sell-out quickly.