Australia domestic flights: Virgin adds two new routes, new lounge

The battle between Virgin Australia and Qantas for domestic travel is starting to heat up, with Virgin Australia announcing it will add two new routes in March, while increasing capacity on some other routes.

The airline will add a Melbourne-Ballina Byron route for Easter, from March 29 to April 25, as well as an Adelaide-Sunshine Coast route during the same period. The Byron Bay flight will operate "up to" six times a week according to the airline, with Adelaide-Sunshine Coast four times a week.

Virgin will also increase frequency to several key holiday destinations including Cairns, Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine), Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Ballina Byron (Byron Bay), Launceston, Hobart, Broome and Kununurra.

The airline cited the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine and the end of Victoria's five-day lockdown in its statement about the increased services.

"We have all worked hard to get to a place where we can enjoy these travel opportunities once again, with the added benefit of supporting vital jobs in our tourism destinations," said Virgin Australia Group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka.

The announcement of the Adelaide route comes as the airline unveiled its lounge at Adelaide Airport, the first to feature a new design and menu.

With international borders closed, domestic routes have become the new battleground for Australian airlines. Qantas is also launching several new routes in March, including Melbourne and Sydney flights to Merimbula, Melbourne to Newcastle and Sydney to Griffith.

Meanwhile, regional carrier Rex is preparing its foray into the busy Sydney-Melbourne route from next Monday, at the same time as it accuses Qantas of predatory behaviour by entering into routes the smaller airline previously had a monopoly on. Qantas returned fire, saying the airline's complaints were "a classic Rex tantrum".

Sudden state border closures have wreaked havoc with airline schedules, forcing both Qantas and Virgin Australia to introduce more flexibility with booking. Both airlines now allow unlimited changes to flight bookings, free of charge, until January 2022.

Advertisement

Virgin Australia's increased frequencies

Brisbane – Cairns (up to 33 return services per week by 11 April)

Sydney - Cairns (up to 14 return services per week by 11 April)

Melbourne - Cairns (up to 10 return services per week by 4 April)

Brisbane – Hamilton Island (up to 12 return services per week by 4 April)

Brisbane – Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) (up to 9 return services per week by 4 April)

Sydney – Sunshine Coast (up to 14 return services per week by 4 April)

Melbourne – Sunshine Coast (up to 18 return services per week by 4 April)

Sydney – Gold Coast (up to 55 return services per week by 11 April)

Melbourne – Gold Coast (up to 38 return services per week by 4 April)

Adelaide – Gold Coast (up to 10 return services per week by 4 April)

Canberra – Gold Coast (up to 9 return services per week by 4 April)

Sydney – Ballina/Byron Bay (up to 14 return services per week by 4 April)

Perth – Broome (up to 11 return services per week by 11 April)

Perth – Kununurra (up to 5 return services per week by 4 April)

Brisbane - Launceston (up to 4 return services per week by 4 April)

Brisbane - Hobart (up to 10 return services per week by 4 April)

Melbourne - Hobart (up to 26 return services per week by 4 April)

Melbourne – Launceston (up to 21 return services per week by 4 April)

See also: New look, new planes unveiled for Rex's Sydney-Melbourne route

See also: COVID-19 could change one of the worst things about flying

Comments