Virgin Australia delays return of flights to New Zealand, Bali and Fiji
Virgin Australia’s plans to resume overseas flights have encountered another stumbling block following federal government forecasts that Australia’s borders will remain largely closed until mid-2022.
After new owners Bain Capital restarted the airline as a domestic-only operation in the face of moderate demand due to COVID-induced travel restrictions, and withdrew its international Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 jets, Virgin and his supporters were eager to see near-range return overseas flights.
However, Virgin opted out of the Trans-Tasmanian bubble between Australia and New Zealand from April 19, saying it was taking a “more pragmatic approach” to domestic and foreign flights – although ‘It is understood that the airline also faced a deficit due to the downsizing of the Boeing 737 fleet, which was around 25% smaller than when the airline entered administration.
At the time, Virgin predicted that “most New Zealand services” would rebound from October 31, 2021, but the airline now says most New Zealand destinations – including Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington – will stay out. of the card “until at least December 2021”. disappointing adoption, says Alistair Hartley, director of strategy and transformation at Virgin Australia.
Queenstown flights are still ongoing
The lone survivor is Queenstown, “where clients are looking to travel during the September school holidays and the coming summer.” All other New Zealand services will be postponed for the time being ”.
Virgin flights from Sydney-Queenstown and Brisbane-Queenstown remain locked from September 18, with Melbourne-Queenstown from December 7.
Virgin had already postponed restarting NZ flights twice this year, first in March and then in June.
“We are continually reviewing our network to respond to the latest advice and, most importantly, are looking at whether we can restart short-haul international flights, including to New Zealand earlier, if travel demand improves and circumstances change, ”Hartley added.
Also on the program “for the moment”: a return to Bali, Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.
“We are realistic about restarting short-haul international flights and have now delayed services to the Pacific and to Bali, Indonesia, at least until December.”
As domestic travel is on the rise and new challenger Rex seeks its own share of the intercity jet market, Virgin says it “continues to review its domestic network to ensure it meets the growth opportunities here in Canada. Australia”.
Also read: Qantas cancels international flights until December