Virgin Australia is gearing up to expand its reach into the South Pacific from early next year, with a newly confirmed return to Vanuatu and Samoa in March 2023.
Known for their relaxed vibes and natural beauty, the island nations will become its fourth and fifth overseas destinations, respectively.
Virgin dipped its toe back into the Pacific in December 2021, restarting direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Nadi, Fiji. Since then, over 120,000 overseas travellers have visited the tropical paradise, proving there’s a more than healthy appetite.
Direct services between Brisbane and Vanuatu’s capital of Port Vila will initially jet off up to five times a week from March 10, with a thrice-weekly service from Sydney to follow from March 21.
Apia, Samoa will see a twice-weekly Brisbane connection begin on March 23.
In the meantime, travellers hoping to venture beyond Fiji can take advantage of non-stop flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to beautiful Bali from this week, while trans-Tasman hops to Queenstown, New Zealand will also take off from November.
In an Australian first, direct Gold Coast to Bali flights will also commence from the airport's new terminal on March 29.
The airline’s much-hyped partnership with United Airlines, which replaced its former stable mate Delta Air Lines on June 12, is also now in full swing, unlocking an extensive network in the United States and onwards to South America.
Virgin Australia is taking a slow and steady approach to the rebuild of its international network, with destinations currently limited by its short haul Boeing 737-800 fleet. The options will greatly increase when its first 737 MAX 8 – boasting a significantly higher range – joins the ranks in February 2023.
The airline has long maintained it would resume long-range flying when international demand returned.
When it arrives, the MAX 8 will also mark an evolution of Virgin’s fleet and onboard passenger experience, with new business class and economy seats expected to debut on the next-gen jet.
In addition, Virgin teased what it called “one of the most exciting and unique aviation events of 2022” last month, fueling a wave of speculation for new cabin experiences or aircraft, though an announcement was postponed at the last minute.