Tag Archives: Boeing 737-8FE WL

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 virginaustralia.com;
  • 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 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:

REX secures two additional Boeing 737-800s

"Our heart is in the country"

Rex today announced it had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with a lessor for the lease of two Boeing 737-800NGs.

The two aircraft are expected to arrive in late August, increasing the 737 fleet to eight, and are scheduled to enter service on Rex’s domestic network in September.

Rex’s Deputy Chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM, said, “It was only in November last year that we confirmed financing for Rex’s foray into the domestic market and within six months we have already obtained approval for the jet operations on our Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), recruited and trained crews and engineers, procured six aircraft and started operations on five domestic routes, with the first services commencing on March 1, 2021.

Rex currently operates 737 services from Melbourne to Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide, and Canberra and from Sydney to Gold Coast. The two additional aircraft will provide Rex with the ability to launch new routes to other capital cities, large regional centres and popular leisure destinations.

The new routes will be announced shortly.

Rex is Australia’s largest independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 60 Saab 340 and six Boeing 737-800NG aircraft to 61 destinations throughout all states in Australia. In addition to the airline Rex, the Rex Group comprises wholly owned subsidiaries Pel-Air Aviation (air freight, aeromedical and charter operator) and the two pilot academies, Australian Airline Pilot Academy in Wagga Wagga and Ballarat.

Top Copyright Photo: REX (Regional Express Airlines) Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-RQC (msn 33797) SYD (John Adlard). Image: 952654.

REX aircraft slide show:

REX to take on QANTAS with low fares and a larger Boeing 737-800 fleet

REX (Regional Express Airlines) Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-RQC (msn 33797) SYD (John Adlard). Image: 952671.

REX issued this guidance:

Rex wishes to update the market on the trading conditions of its operations in this Financial Year (FY).

On the regional market front, the overall demand is back to 60% of pre-COVID levels but the recovery is uneven across the States. In Queensland for example, demand has exceeded preCOVID levels with our capacity back to 100% of what it was. Western Australia is also recovering very strongly and is approaching pre-COVID levels.

Rex is cautiously expanding its regional network in an effort to stimulate demand. We are keeping our capacity growth about 5% ahead of demand growth. Rex’s regional capacity is therefore 35% of what it was pre-COVID.

Rex has embarked on an aggressive expansion on new regional routes. Rex started operations in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie on March 28, 2021. These two large regional cities were monopolized by Qantas. Combined the two centers had about 40% of the number of passengers in Rex’s entire regional network.

Rex will also soon be announcing entry into other Qantas monopoly ports.

With the cessation of JobKeeper and the huge reduction in government assistance from April onwards, Rex’s regional operations appear to be slightly loss-making at the current demand levels. Rex is hopeful that demand will increase in the months ahead to return the regional operations to profitability.

Rex has also successfully launched five domestic routes since March and plans to launch more as it hopes to augment its jet fleet from the six Boeing 737-800NGs currently to 10 by the end of the year.

Rex’s entry into the domestic market has been predictably met by typical Qantas predatory behavior of capacity dumping.

Rex is determined to stand its ground and has introduced neverseen-before full service fares of $39 between Sydney and Melbourne.

Rex’s cash position has improved exponentially. Without counting the cash injection of $50 million from the convertible note issued to PAG (out of a maximum of $150 million), Rex’s unencumbered cash reserves increased by 1,000% compared to March 2020 due to the very strong advanced bookings on its five new domestic and two new regional routes. Rex expects this to improve further as more routes are introduced.

Rex believes that it will finish the FY 2021 with a breakeven situation. Rex is one of the rare airlines in the world able to achieve this incredible outcome during the pandemic whilst at the same time funding the expansion of the business into the domestic airline market.

Rex is Australia’s largest independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 60 Saab 340 and six Boeing 737-800NG aircraft to 61 destinations throughout all states in Australia.

In addition to the airline Rex, the Rex Group comprises wholly owned subsidiaries Pel-Air Aviation (air freight, aeromedical and charter operator) and the two pilot academies, Australian Airline Pilot Academy in Wagga Wagga and Ballarat.

REX Route Map:

Top Copyright Photo: REX (Regional Express Airlines) Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-RQC (msn 33797) SYD (John Adlard). Image: 952671.

REX aircraft slide show:

REX becomes a new Boeing 737 operator, jet services to start on March 1

"Our heart is in the country"

REX – Regional Express Airlines is entering the competitive interstate domestic mainline market in Australia with six former Virgin Australia 176-seat Boeing 737-800NGs starting in March 2021.

 

REX jet services between Sydney and Melbourne will commence on March 1, 2021.

REX is Australia’s largest independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 60 SAAB 340 aircraft (pre-COVID) on 1,500 weekly flights to 59 destinations throughout all states in Australia.

The pictured VH-RQC was painted in Jakarta and arrived in Sydney on December 24, 2020 (below) to a water canyon salute.

In other news, the airline is also introducing new uniforms with this announcement:

As Rex’s inaugural domestic services between Sydney and Melbourne fast approach, Rex on January 23, 2021 unveiled its refreshed cabin crew uniforms. The new uniform retains the essence of Rex’s signature country hospitality but is presented in a classic yet elegant style. Rex’s National Flight Attendant Manager, Donna Griffith, said, “This fresh new look is intended to update Rex’s signature country hospitality. We have chosen a clean, fuss-free look that is simple yet elegant. Materials and cut have been carefully selected to provide comfort and practicality for my cabin crew.” “We are very proud that our uniforms are not designed by any famous designer. As with everything else we do in Rex, we have done everything in-house, from the design to the selection of material. This is who we are. This is what we do. This is why we are one of the most successful airlines in the world.”

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): REX (Regional Express Airlines) Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-RQC (msn 33797) SYD (John Adlard). Image: 952654.

REX Aircraft Photo Gallery:

REX Slide Show:

Virgin Australia to offer WiFi for all trans-Tasman flights

Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIM (msn 38716) DPS (Pascal Simon). Image: 942980.

Virgin Australia today unveiled a suite of enhancements to make the journey to New Zealand even more comfortable for Australian travellers, including becoming the only airline to offer WiFi for all Trans-Tasman flights.

From October 28, 2018, all Virgin Australia guests flying to Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington and Dunedin will receive:

  • A substantial meal and drink included in all fares;
  • At least 23kg of baggage included in all fares;
  • WiFi on all flights including 15 minutes of complimentary access; and
  • Increased Velocity Frequent Flyer Points and Status Credits earn potential.

Virgin Australia Airlines Group Executive Rob Sharp, said the airline was excited to provide an even better product and service for guests travelling to New Zealand.

“Last year, 1.5 million Australians flew to New Zealand and we’re looking forward to making their trip across the ditch even more enjoyable with a meal and drink as well as WiFi so they can keep connected whilst in the sky,” he said.

“We’re committed to expanding our presence in New Zealand with new services including flights from Sydney to Wellington; Melbourne to Queenstown; and Newcastle to Auckland as well as extra flights to Auckland, all of which commence in the next couple of months.”

Virgin Australia’s award-winning loyalty program, Velocity Frequent Flyer, has also announced new benefits for members travelling to Short Haul International destinations such as New Zealand, Bali, Fiji, and Samoa.

From 28 October, Velocity members will now be awarded a minimum of five Points per dollar spent1 on fares from New Zealand. Platinum, Gold and Silver members will continue to earn a Points Bonus meaning that Platinum Velocity members will now receive up to 10 Points per dollar spent.2

Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Karl Schuster, said he was delighted to give Velocity members more Points earning power, as well as improving the number of Status Credits earned on Short Haul International flights.

“For the first time, Velocity members will earn Points per dollar spent for Short Haul International destinations, rather than based on the distance travelled. Members will earn more Velocity Points when travelling to these destinations and we believe our Points offer for New Zealand flights is one of the best,” he said.

“Members will also experience improved Status Credit earn to many Short Haul International destinations including flights to and from New Zealand. This means members can achieve a higher Velocity status faster and unlock further membership benefits.”

 

Virgin Australia today also announced a codeshare arrangement with Singapore Airlines on flights between Melbourne and Wellington, for travel from 28 October. The flights, operated by Singapore Airlines, will operate four times per week and will allow Virgin Australia customers to seamlessly connect their travel and baggage onto other destinations and enable Velocity members to earn Points and Status Credits.3

1 Flights purchased in NZD or other currency will earn Velocity Points based on AUD-equivalent spent
2 Flights purchased in NZD or other currency will earn Velocity Points based on AUD-equivalent spent
3 Where your Trans-Tasman or International Short Haul journey contains a flight with a VA flight number operated by a Velocity Partner Airline you will earn Points and Status Credits based on your fare class and the number of miles flown for the whole journey, including any flights operated by Virgin Australia

Top Copyright Photo (all other by Virgin Australia): Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIM (msn 38716) DPS (Pascal Simon). Image: 942980.

Virgin Australia aircraft slide show:

Virgin Australia to fly from Hobart to Perth

Named "Casuarina Beach"

Virgin Australia on September 27, 2018 will launch nonstop service from Hobart, Tasmania to Perth, Western Australia. The new route will operate three days a week with Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Photo Above Virgin Australia. 2018 is the Chinese Year Of The Dog, and a pack of picture paw-fect pooches joined the Virgin Australia Cabin Crew and Dannii Minogue on the tarmac to celebrate the inaugural Sydney – Hong Kong flight.

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIS (msn 39926) DPS (Pascal Simon). Image: 942654.

Virgin Australia aircraft slide show:

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia will end their trans-Tasman alliance in October

Air New Zealand Boeing 777-219 ER ZK-OKE (msn 32712) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 937555.

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia made this announcement:

The airlines commenced the strategic alliance at the end of 2010 to cooperate on services between New Zealand and Australia. Current regulatory approval for the alliance expires at the end of October this year and the parties will not apply for renewal.

Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says market dynamics on the Tasman have changed and the time is now right for each airline to focus on its own objectives.

Current trans-Tasman alliance arrangements will remain in place until October 27, 2018 and customers travelling before this date will be unaffected. Customers booked with Air New Zealand to travel on a Virgin Australia service (or vice versa) after October 28 will be contacted by their booking airline.

Top Copyright Photo: Air New Zealand Boeing 777-219 ER ZK-OKE (msn 32712) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 937555.

Air New Zealand aircraft slide show:

Virgin Australia aircraft slide show:

Bottom Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIA (msn 37824) HNL (Ivan K. Nishimura). Image: 913307.

Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIA (msn 37824) HNL (Ivan K. Nishimura). Image: 913307.

Virgin Australia is ready for the Christmas rush with 150 extra flights

Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIY (msn 40701) BFI (Steve Bailey). Image: 926599.

Virgin Australia Airlines is ramping up for one of the busiest times of the year by going above and beyond for all travellers these Christmas holidays. The airline will help nearly two million passengers get to their destinations, and has also added over 150 extra flights to popular domestic and international locations to cater to the increased demand.

During the month of December, Virgin Australia will:

  • Fly nearly 2 million passengers to 58 destinations;
  • Operate nearly 14,000 domestic and international flights;
  • Carry more than 1.1 million pieces of luggage; and
  • Transport around 9,000 pets around the country.

For the first time, guests in Virgin Australia’s lounges will be served a traditional Christmas spread on Christmas Day1. Guests can dine on roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce, marmalade glazed leg ham with mustard gravy, roast vegetables, steamed greens and warm mini fruit puddings with brandy custard.

During the Christmas period, guests in all Virgin Australia lounges will be served:

  • 120,000 fruit mince pies;
  • 90,000 turkey and cranberry rolls;
  • 80,000 chocolate elves; and
  • 500kg of Christmas cookies.

On Christmas Day alone, Virgin Australia will serve more than 4,500 herb-roasted Turkey meals, while 7,000 bottles of bubbly will be popped over the Christmas period.

For Business Class guests, Virgin Australia resident chef Luke Mangan and his team are busy preparing some fine fare to serve on board including:

  • 12,000 gingerbread stars; and
  • 1,000 hot herb-roasted Turkey meals with chestnut stuffing and vegetables.

Virgin Australia will also be helping families to take their four legged friends away on holidays, with more than 9,000 cats and dogs expected to fly, as well as more than 100 rescue dogs due to be transported to new homes.

Velocity members will also be taking advantage of the program’s award-winning redemption ability, with more than 65,000 Reward Seats being flown over the period.

Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIY (msn 40701) BFI (Steve Bailey). Image: 926599.

Virgin Australia:

View the Christmas video below.