Will Virgin ditch Asia?

5 replies

GgFlyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 30 Mar 2015

Total posts 41

Will Virgin ditch Asia?

Iv heard a few rumours going around that Virgin will replace its Asia routes (Phuket & Bali) with TigerAir a320s as they are unprofitable.

I'm quite unsure whether I should believe it or not, but it sounds likely...

If anyone can tell me if its likely or not if love to hear it.

smit0847

Member since 30 Aug 2013

Total posts 148

No-one knows yet but its highly possible. VA have admitted that DPS remains their most unprofitable destination and its no wonder when they are competing against JQ and AAX on many routes, often with a narrow body against these wide body compeditors. I am amazed they're still operating MEL-DPS especially - their cost base (and therefore prices) and significantly higher than their competitors and they're trying to offer a very expensive recliner J against JQ's brand new 787 for 3-4 times the price and against AAX's affordable flat-bed for also a much higher price. For as long as VA's cabin crew are Australian based while their competitors base crew in cheap Asian countries, their costs are going to remain much higher.

The 737 simply isnt suited to anything over about 4 hours IMO, especially for what is now a full-service airline. I did HKT-PER a few years back on VA 737 in Y which was about 6.5 hours and it was absolutely horrendous - never again.

Giving TT these routes with an A320, while still a very unpopular aircraft choice would give TT/VA a MUCH lower cost base. I assume TT would base crew in DPS and HKT to further reduce costs and work them to the bone on horrendous 7+ day trips like JQ do (JQ crew operate same-day SYD-DPS-SYD which is something like 16 hours on the clock). TT should be able to slide into the market as the absolute budget choice if they can get their costs below AAX and JQ. There will be extremely slim profit margins but at least they won't be haemorraging money like VA are. Yes ignorant pax will complain about the experience but if they're the cheapest they have nothing to complain about.

Yes it would be lovely if VA put A330s on these routes with a more suitable aircraft choice and much nicer hard and soft product but its not practical. VA tried a 777 on MEL-HKT years ago and it didnt make money - people don't pay full J price to leisure destinations (JQ and AAX's 'Business' class is not business, its premium economy and is priced accordingly).

Im a very loyal VA patron but VA would be my last choice to DPS. JQ offer a solid product for the price they charge. I'd love to see VA build their pacific islands routes instead of focusing on the incredibly competitive Asian routes (where they cant compete with Asian-based crew on LCCs). VA and NZ have a duopoly on many pacific island routes and charge accordingly often with poor 737 products on long flights (SYD-APW is 5 hours). With much less competition they could at least try offering more direct flights and then potentially look to upguage to A330 if there's J demand (NZ do it).

With the best SEA airline as a major partner (and shareholder) in SQ they wont bother launching any new Asian routes unless SQ didn't want to fly there.

GgFlyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 30 Mar 2015

Total posts 41

I completly agree... my friend flew Perth - Phuket recently on Virgin and said that they where on an old Virgin Blue 737-800 that had the same layout as their flight to Kalgoorlie, they said they'd rather go via Jakarta with Garuda then go on an old Virgin 737.

I don't mind flying on 737 on a 3 hour flight (like PER - DPS) but I feel as if an 8 hour flight from SYD - DPS on a 737 would just get annoying and cramped.

If they do cut the routes i'd like to see Virgin put their focus in the Pacific area with Air NZ, and some progress has been made (with a seasonal a330 between Sydney and Nadi) and leave SE asia to Tiger Air.

riley

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 19 Mar 2014

Total posts 358

My sentiments exactly Smit0847. Having copped the 737 on SYD > DPS > MEL, I'll only ever do it if I'm taking reward seats for a quick getaway. Otherwise it's garuda or jetstar business in the Dreamliner providing the cost is right.

If it's not profitable with a 737, it sure as hell won't be with an A332! I'd back them to sub in tiger metal. Such a budget offering on an international route gives customers a mixed message about where VA sit in the market.

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

Bali and Phuket are budget destinations. If VA is serious it would fly to serious-business focused cities in Asia like Singapore and Hong Kong.

riley

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 19 Mar 2014

Total posts 358

Bring on Hong Kong! Although VA's lack of international network may just allow me to requalify for Qantas gold and maintain VA through domestic. Then I'll no longer be as passionate about it.

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