Virgin Australia axes Perth-Abu Dhabi flights

By David Flynn, February 27 2017

Virgin Australia has axed plans to fly between Perth and Abu Dhabi, pulling out of the route even before the first flight took off.

The airline had proposed three flights per week beginning June 9 2017, but said in a statement today that "subsequent changes in market conditions have made the route no longer viable for Virgin Australia."

Those seemingly few travellers who had booked their seat on Virgin's Airbus A330 flights will be offered alternative flights with partner Etihad Airways.

Coupled with this month's closure of the Sydney-Abu Dhabi route, the move sees Virgin finally pulling out of the UAE capital in order to better focus on the USA and Asia.

Virgin will restart flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles on April 4, with Hong Kong and China both moving into the frame for a mid-year launch.

The Hong Kong flights are tipped to run from Melbourne and go on sale before the end of March.

David

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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 222

Yeowzah! I actually looked at booking flights with VA to Europe and their scheduling looked timely but some didn't compared to EY!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 335

This is what I've been saying for YEARS about Virgin Australia. In and out of markets and inconsistent. How can anyone book with confidence with VA?

06 Jan 2015

Total posts 71

Surprise surprise

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 328

So market conditions are unfavourable in both Sydney and Perth? Can these guys make anything work?

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 59

MEL/SYD/PER/ADL are massively over capacity to the middle east, load factors have fallen below 65% for EK in some months. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

Hardly surprising.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 220

I can't think of a more cut throat market than Australia to Hong Kong, but I'm sure they'll be able to get a piece of that pie for themselves.

I would have thought they might have tried looking for a more under-done market, such as Australia to India since we have something like 350,000 people of Indian heritage living here.
But I don't think they can go wrong with Australia to China.
I just hope like aklrunway says, once they pick a destination they need to stick with it.
AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 264

Good strategy, ANZUS/Asia is where VA needs to focus. And honestly I wonder why even Qantas still bothers with DXB/LON with the EK army all over it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 326

Prestige. I don't see QF ever pulling out of LHR entirely.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

QF pulling out of LHR will never happen. Even with Brexit altering the British economy and business interests, the kangaroo route is still enormously popular and will remain so with business and leisure pax.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

TBH if Virgin had added an onward sector to London, even a couple of times a week, Abu Dhabi might have become a more feasible proposition. Or onwards to FRA for example.

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 92

What is going on at VA...? there is a real lack of a coherent strategy...exited MEL-JNB...exited Sydney-AUH...are in. then out, then in of LAX services...the idea of chasing markets that are already subject to stiff competition or alliances makes no sense.  What did PER-AUH deliver...what does HK-MEL deliver...chasing HK will be a disaster as Cathay and Qantas already offer superior frequencies and comparable products. They need to exploit their alliance network and look for niche services...not go head to head...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 326

VA needs to revert to being a domestic only airline on its own metal, and a virtual airline internationally (which it mainly is anyway).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

Does seem to be a rough few years economically and strategically. Aus has sufficient airline trade to support two international airlines but it seems Virgin are struggling to make it work at the moment!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 101

Hope this can free more wide bodies for the forthcoming HKG route.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 290

I really want Virgin to do well, but they just don't look like they know what to do with themselves at the moment.

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 53

They need to stop trying to be Qantas 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 171

They don't have enough metal for international, that's the real problem. Maybe they need to focus on domestic and build the partnerships for international. Or go hard and get some aircraft to be a real player in international.
I suspect they've decided to use that A332 to enable them to do HKG from more than one Australian city.... with the rest of the metal they need, coming from HNA
Being an agent I feel like virgin should begin to fly to under serviced areas, yet extremely popular with Aussie...eg south and Central America. Just imagine direct services to Mexico, eliminates the annoying USA connections.
Or an even better option for South America would be Medellin, Colombia. 

25 Feb 2013

Total posts 59

Or even under-serviced area in existing markets like the US (instead of focusing on LA). I always wondered why no carrier has ever done a direct Australia-Seattle yet (Multiple hub, massive business ties, etc).

Principle's the same though. New routes, not copying existing and already well-serviced routes!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

If they are going to try to be an international player, they need to get some of their own new metal, then they can start, they simply don't have enough aircraft. Surely they could lease some A330s from HNA...

Asiana Airlines - Asiana Club

09 Feb 2017

Total posts 42

VA could technically make gold on the Hong Kong and Shanghai legs if they hurried up and joined Star Alliance already. They have a product on par with, if not superior to, the Chinese competitors, even if only for the Chinese law about onboard smartphone use.
VA need to get their airplane flying to China before the important AFL match between Port Adelaide and Gold Coast, which is scheduled for Sunday afternoon on May 14th.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2016

Total posts 3

I was looking forward to this for the option to do points upgrades to the UAE on VA, that would get you more than half way in style and then economy with EY for the rest of the journey in Europe.

Might be time for Perth based persons to ditch Velocity FF and Qantas FF and join an international program as QF don't fly that direction from Perth either.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 303

Wow, what's going on at VA lately? They're all over the place.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

A good decision.  Flying PER - AUH 3 x weekly is a waste of VA's limited wide body metal. A flight to greater China will at least allow daily flights 

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 92

As a thought VA is clearly losing a lot of $...why don't they ditch the Virgin brand name and save on licencing fees or whatever the pay to the Virgin Group parent...isn't this in the millions per year? Is it really worth it?

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

And re-branding will be cheaper?

24 Jul 2016

Total posts 2

Like somebody said Perth people loose out again . Maybe it is time to look at a different points program ? Did you know that after years Perth has finally got an international Qantas flight out of Perth but only to Singapore ?
( Can you imagine an Australian State Capital City not having an International Qantas flight ? ) .
 Virgin is still the best to US from Perth ( via Sydney ) and Qantas best to South America ( aka ) . But flying anywhere in Asia or the sub continent is better to just buy a ticket !  When (if ) the Perth - London flights start they should price them accordingly and they would be virtually the best and only way to go at $1100 return . But they wont and that will be the end of That !

Qantas

02 May 2016

Total posts 35

Borghetti is the problem at VA, he's still trying to be a big boy with Qantas but truthfully he doesn't have the aircraft or the leverage they have......he needs to quit trying to beat QF at every turn and just develop a winning strategy for VA that targets unique volume markets, and they are out there....India, China, South America etc, frankly I don't see how going up against QF and CX to HKG is a smart strategy with limited resources (aircraft)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

03 Aug 2016

Total posts 3

Virgin Australia are a limited international airline, so if you fly to multiple locations around the world then Qantas is the choice.  I'm in the process of moving from Virgin to Qantas as I can't stand flying Etihad. 

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