Virgin Australia, Alliance Airlines drop Bundaberg flights

Queensland bids farewell to competition on the Brisbane-Bundaberg route, set to become a QantasLink monopoly from late September.

By Chris Chamberlin , September 16 2020
Virgin Australia, Alliance Airlines drop Bundaberg flights

Virgin Australia will no longer serve Bundaberg from late September, with both its Brisbane-Bundaberg and Bundaberg-Gladstone routes being axed as part of the airline's restructure.

Operated by Alliance Airlines on behalf of Virgin Australia, the last Bundaberg flights will run on Sunday September 27 – after which, Brisbane-Bundaberg will become a QantasLink monopoly, while Bundaberg and Gladstone will no longer be linked by air.

“The decision to suspend services to Bundaberg was not taken lightly,” said Alliance Airlines CEO Lee Schofield.

"However, ongoing significantly reduced demand, exacerbated by the border closures which have essentially stopped all connecting traffic through Brisbane, have made this route unviable in the current environment.”

Executive Traveller staff recently travelled the Brisbane-Bundaberg-Gladstone-Brisbane triangle route, and observed just 25 passengers boarding the 80-seat aircraft from Brisbane, and a similar number boarding in Bundaberg – although the final Gladstone-Brisbane leg was noticeably busier.

ET review: Alliance Airlines Fokker 70 economy class

Of course, Bundaberg can also be reached from Brisbane by a four-hour drive, with Bundaberg and Gladstone even closer together, approximately 160km apart, making road trips a popular option for locals.

Bundaberg’s loss is Gladstone’s gain, with Alliance Airlines boosting Brisbane-Gladstone-Brisbane flights to 12 times a week from late September, all of which will run non-stop.

QantasLink, which had most recently been serving Bundaberg four times each week, will return to six flights per week after Alliance Airlines exits. Its Brisbane-Bundaberg-Brisbane flights will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The move follows Virgin Australia’s exit from a host of other regional routes, including flights to Albury, Ayers Rock (Uluru), Cloncurry, Hervey Bay, Mildura and Tamworth, joined by the withdrawal of Virgin Australia flights to Tonga, even after international travel restrictions ease.

Virgin Australia has also axed its Sydney-Port Macquarie flights, although Alliance Airlines will continue to operate Brisbane-Port Macquarie services on behalf of Virgin, set to resume once Queensland’s border to New South Wales reopens.

Also read: Virgin Australia scraps regional routes across NSW, VIC, QLD, NT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 45

I wonder if the Premier (non-elect) of QLD , Dr Jeannette Young,  will mark this down as a consequence of the her over the top border closures ?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 148

Because all the Sydneysiders love holidaying in Costa Del Bundaberg?  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 45

Well you might have an elderly parents a or relatives in Gin Gin, not everyone lives on the Sunshine Coast, not just about people taking holidays but people moving around to go to funerals, weddings and just see loved ones.....

Bundaberg is also popular with tourists, being the home of Bundaberg Rum (you can tour the distillery) and other 'Bundaberg' brands, beautiful beaches at Bargara, the Hinkler Hall of Aviation, and also a real 'foodie' spot given the copious volume of produce sourced from the local area.

On the same note, Bundaberg is also popular with business travellers in the farming and agriculture industries, and flights to Brisbane were also the most common path for Bundaberg locals to connect across Australia and around the world - when borders were open, of course.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 303

Spot on Chris. Bargara is a great coastal town and a place to spend time relaxing on the beach/by the pool, not to mention an alternative gateway to the Barrier Reef and islands such as Lady Elliott.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 101

The Tilt Train service is also not a bad way to travel between Bundaberg and Brisbane.  It even has "business class" ;)  

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 491

Spoken like a true Bundabergian, and I hope everyone takes note of the Qld Premier actions, myself being one of those people who have and would have taken Sydney-Brisbane-Bundaberg flights with Alliance and VA.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 303

If you are referring to me, I am not from, nor do I live in Bundaberg. Just someone that has been to the region for a holiday on a number of occasions.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 329

Bundaberg now sounding more like Cost del Bundaberg after all.  

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 81

Annastacia border closures and $200 million into Virgin is clearly working out well for Queensland.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 329

'Empress Annastacia' to you, if you don't mind.  :-)

02 Jun 2020

Total posts 2

Why am I not surprised? Its called restructuring...same mistakes won't be done..don't worry..Rex will do that...


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