Virgin Australia and its trans-Tasman alliance partner Air New Zealand will ramp up flights between Brisbane and Auckland next year, with up to five additional return flights each week.
Running between April and October 2018, the new flights boost the duo’s offering to up to 34 weekly return flights on the route, as Virgin Australia introduces up to two extra Boeing 737 flights and Air New Zealand up to three further Airbus A320 flights each week.
While AirNZ's A320s only offer economy seating, Virgin Australia's Boeing 737s sport eight business class seats at the pointy end.
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Virgin Australia will also re-time one of its existing Auckland-Brisbane flights to better-align with Air New Zealand’s flight schedules, with travellers able to depart New Zealand at 4pm, 6pm and 7:30pm on weekdays across both airlines.
Business class passengers plus Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers and AirNZ Airpoints Gold and Elite cardholders will enjoy access to Air New Zealand’s upgraded Brisbane Airport lounge when flying across the pond with either airline…
… and to the Kiwi carrier’s lounge in Auckland before their Brisbane-bound flight:
Air New Zealand Koru Club, Virgin Australia Lounge, United Club and Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Worldwide members also receive lounge access when travelling on an eligible flight, ditto Star Alliance Gold cardholders when flying with Air New Zealand on an NZ or other Star Alliance flight number.
The news follows Emirates’ announcement that it will cease flying its Airbus A380 aircraft between Brisbane and Auckland from March 25 2018, and Qantas’ plan to introduce more Boeing 737 flights of its own between the same cities, along with a daily Airbus A330 service.
SkyTeam alliance member China Airlines runs its own daily Brisbane-Auckland flights using an Airbus A330 as well.