Virgin Australia further expands international network

Island vibes await as the airline brings back two fan-favourite holiday destinations.

By Chris Ashton, June 14 2022
Virgin Australia further expands international network

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.

The Blue Cave on Tanna Island is one of Vanuatu's most famous sights.
The Blue Cave on Tanna Island is one of Vanuatu's most famous sights.

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 349

Virgin have also announced flights from the Gold Coast to Bali.

Business Class on the Golden Triangle is ok (great) once you start doing longer than that you need better seats. QF all the way in at least an A330 Business Class, ask an air warrior about VA business or economy to Bali you might as well save the money and take Jetstar and use an American Express lounge.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1103

Apart from the fact that QF also uses its 737s to DPS, I think VA have been very clear that they have no intention of getting anything bigger than a 737 in their fleet for the foreseeable future.  They also have indicated that the J class seat on future 737s will continue to be a recliner and be the same J seat they have been trialling on 2 ex-Silkair 737-800s.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1103

I did a comparison for MEL-DPS in J class in October. Jetstar and Virgin are not dissimilar in their J class pricing with both between $1400 and $1600 return in October for an afternoon departure with a 787 for JQ and 737 for VA  The really questionable value is QF charging $2600 for a very similar departure time also on a 737.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 349

The reality is it’s just not value with QF, especially when on the same aircraft/seat type.

The only thing VA are yet to announce, is when their international lounges will open.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 349

Agree, QF A330's are as good as it gets on a domestic business class flight, but they don't have enough of them operating domestically because they are needed for international operations.

I have a flight booked in November from Brisbane to Perth in business, and just today the aircraft has been changed to a B737. 

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1103

As well as being limited in the number of A330s available for domestic services, Qantas also understands that customers often value frequency more than the size of the aircraft so there is more value in operating a 737 on a route like BNE-PER 3 or 4 times a day compared with an A330 only 2 times a day.

26 Aug 2019

Total posts 5

Virgin are operating Brisbane - Port Vila (5x week) and Brisbane - Apia (2x week). Sydney is to Apia not Port Vila and is 3x week. You have Sydney round wrong way in article

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Oct 2018

Total posts 2

Does anyone have any insights on when VA is expanding their trans Tasman destinations such as Auckland/Wellington/ChCh?   Demand appears to be there?  

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1103

I get the impression they are not too keen to return to AKL, WLG etc.  VA realise they will always be minnows on these routes compared with NZ and QF which means they will be price takers.  As REX is finding out, being a price taking minnow is not a recipe for success.

Is anyone aware of VA plans regarding international flights in or out of Cairns?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 576

I'm flying to BNE-DPS this weekend, will gladly report back here on the inflight experience.  Ahead of which, so far, no-one I've called at Velocity has been able to say whether (or not) the seats have USB charging ports.  I'll keep asking, but that's a worry when Lounge staff have no idea.  Thoughts, anyone ???

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 576

Our flight had them, but they're dependent upon being 'turned on' by cabin staff (they light up blue when they're on).  It was over a half hour into the flight before they were turned on.  They're in the back of the armrest of the seat in front (good spot).


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