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Virgin Australia Updates Short-Haul International Network

Virgin Australia Group has updated their short-haul international network in response to shifting international border projections. The carrier will defer most short-haul international flying, including service to Fiji and Indonesia, until at least December 2021.

Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 - Courtesy Virgin Australia

On Thursday (May 13, 2021), Virgin Australia Group announced an update to their short-haul international network. Based on shifting international border projections, the carrier will defer most short-haul international flying, including service to Fiji and Indonesia until at least December 2021. As State and Federal Government’s refine trans-Tasman Travel, Virgin Australia will offer Boeing 737 service to Queenstown from Sydney and Brisbane from September 18th, as well as flights between Melbourne and Queenstown starting December 7, 2021. Because demand for other New Zealand destinations remain low, the airline will defer service along with flights to Vanuatu, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands for now.

In Thursday’s announcement, Virgin Australia’s Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Alistair Hartley, said,

“While we know some Australians are itching to travel overseas, it is clear that international travel won’t return to normal as quickly as anticipated. We’re being realistic about restarting short-haul international flying, and have today delayed services to the Pacific, Bali, Indonesia until at least December. Although we’ve seen positive developments with the trans-Tasman bubble and Governments working exceptionally well to manage outbreaks, current demand for travel to New Zealand remains subdued, except for Queenstown, where customers are looking to travel over the September school holidays and the upcoming summer. All other New Zealand services will be deferred for the time being.

“We are continually reviewing our network to respond to the latest advice, and importantly looking at whether we can restart short-haul international flying, including to New Zealand earlier, should travel demand improve and circumstances change. Doing the right thing for our customers remains at the heart of our decision making, and while the impact is relatively low due to ongoing border uncertainty, we are working to provide affected customers with alternative options as quickly as possible.”

Although the international travel outlook remains uncertain, domestic demand is rebounding, and Virgin Australia will continue to identify and respond to growth opportunities in Australia. As previously mentioned, short-haul international service to Denpasar in Bali and Nadi in Fiji will be deferred from sale until at least December 1st, 2021. Additionally, flights to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (New Zealand), as well as service to Port Villa (Vanuatu), Apia (Samoa) and Honiara (Solomon Islands), have been deferred from sale for the time being.

Source: Virgin Australia

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