Qantas, Virgin Australia go head-to-head on Vanuatu flights

The rival carriers are donning the gloves for a battle between Brisbane and Port Vila.

By Chris Ashton, June 20 2024
Qantas, Virgin Australia go head-to-head on Vanuatu flights

Pack your bags and leave your cares at the departure gate – Qantas and Virgin Australia are both jetting off from Brisbane to Vanuatu.

Qantas is gearing up to launch as many as three flights a week on the route, with the option to increase to five per week during peak periods, following approval from Austalia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC).

Exactly when these will begin is yet to be confirmed, with a spokesperson for Qantas Group saying it will “provide further details on our flight schedule as soon as possible.”

However, we do have a good indication, with Qantas’ request to the IASC noting a potential start date of September 10, 2024 on its Boeing 737s, with Jetstar to run up to four Airbus A321neo flights a week from December.

Qantas has been given approval to jet off to Vanuatu.
Qantas has been given approval to jet off to Vanuatu.

Qantas also revealed plans to increase flights to daily using Embraer E190 aircraft in the new year, through a leasing arrangement with Alliance Airlines. 

Of course, Virgin Australia has a clear head start on its rival, with flights already jetting off five times per week, with an additional two a week lifting off from July 7 – and the option to add even more during peak periods.

Those flights will take wing every day except Thursday, with two services on Saturdays.

Despite gaining recent approval from IASC to add Sydney-Port Vila flights to its schedule, Virgin says it’s holding off “in the near term” – partly so that it can focus its available 737 fleet on Brisbane for those peak travel periods.

Virgin Australia also flies its short-range Boeing 737s on the route.
Virgin Australia also flies its short-range Boeing 737s on the route.

Both airlines have swiftly entered the space vacated by Air Vanuatu, which entered voluntary administration in May, with flights cancelled and passengers left scrambling to find their own way between Australia, New Zealand and Port Vila.

Appointed liquidators Ernst & Young Australia this week confirmed “interest from a range of parties seeking to resume Air Vanuatu’s operations”, adding it will be assessing offers and working toward a resolution as soon as possible.

Additional reporting by David Flynn.

20 Jun 2024

Total posts 1

It seems strange that Qantas is flying out of Brisbane and not Sydney????

01 Jul 2021

Total posts 39

Why are all the big airline just avoiding Melbourne right now it's so annoying we had had flights to Vanuatu as well no one is mentioning us.


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