Virgin Australia reopens Canberra lounge

The final lounge in Virgin's domestic network unlocks its doors.

By David Flynn, March 16 2021
Virgin Australia reopens Canberra lounge

Virgin Australia's Canberra lounge is back in business, reopening its doors almost a year after the airline shuttered its entire lounge network in the face of COVID-19 and some 11 months since Virgin itself collapsed into administration, to be bought out by US-based Bain Capital.

In some ways, the return of the compact Canberra lounge – appreciated for its somewhat boutique feel and airfield views – is another milestone for the return of Virgin Australia.

The airline's entire domestic lounge network is now in place, with the new Adelaide lounge showing a fresh look which will eventually be seen in its siblings.

(However, as previously reported, Virgin's lounges at  Alice Springs, Cairns, Darwin, Mackay and Perth T2 will remain closed for good.)

The view from Virgin's Canberra lounge.
The view from Virgin's Canberra lounge.

"As travel demand continues to strengthen, and state borders remain open, we’re excited to offer a fantastic network of domestic lounges for our frequent flyers to access at major airports around Australia," a Virgin Australia spokesman said.

Virgin says the Canberra lounge includes an updated menu "including a selection of sandwiches, salads, wraps and healthy snacks, prepared on site, and served from a hosted bar."

That said, the airline's intentions for Canberra itself remain up in the air, with no flights between Sydney and Canberra, and two daily services each from Brisbane and Melbourne.

Virgin has previously announced plans to partner with Alliance Airlines on scores of domestic routes including Sydney-Canberra, Melbourne-Canberra and Adelaide-Canberra which were better suited to Alliance's fleet of smaller regional aircraft – ironically including Embraer E190 jets which Virgin used to fly until 2018 – than Virgin's new Boeing 737-only model.

Virgin is also readying for the relaunch of its Boeing 737 business class experience, which the airline aims to have flying by the start of April.

Read more: Virgin's business class relaunch is just weeks away...


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1205

Good to see some movement.  With the expectant boom in domestic tourism, particularly to northern ports, over the next few months, I wonder if VA may regret closing their DRW and CNS lounges so soon.

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24 Jan 2018

Total posts 688

Couldn't agree more reeves35, the absence of those lounges is quite a blight on Virgin's business presence, and I'd have thought an embarrassment to the management team.  That said, the distance to the lounge in CNS was beyond remarkable, deserving of its very own travelator/autowalk !!

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 242

Always liked this lounge and Canberra Airport generally, its one of the nicest airports in Australia. But now we'll be waiting to hear what Virgin does about servicing Canberra, can it really make the Boeing 737s work for all routes or will Alliance end up taking over most or even all with its E190s?

17 Apr 2020

Total posts 14

737's or larger are uneconomic to operate CBR/SYD/CBR. They are marginal CBR/MEL/CBR and for both routes require a very high load factor to approach break-even. Unfortunately the Canberra community have become way too comfortable with jet aircraft on these routes over the years. The use of larger jet aircraft during business peaks is perhaps understandable for the incarriage and oncarriage they support. However, frequency is preferable to 2 jets per day on both routes. Alliance may well fill that gap. The higher yields out of CBR could support a smaller jet aircraft at least every couple of hours. The ATR aircraft that VA operated prior to Administration were right-sized to provide an hourly service. Unfortunately the traveling public, particularly public servants, expect a jet service. The alliance fleet may fill this gap. I do believe the VA decision to operate a single aircraft type was short-sighted in the extreme.

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