Virgin Australia cedes regional Queensland routes to Alliance

By Chris Chamberlin, May 11 2017

Virgin Australia will no longer fly from Brisbane to Bundaberg, Gladstone and Moranbah in Queensland or Port Macquarie in New South Wales from July 17 2017, with these routes instead handed over to Alliance Airlines – and with Virgin Australia to codeshare on Alliance’s flights.

Although passengers will be travelling on an ‘Alliance Airlines’ plane rather than one painted as ‘Virgin Australia’, booking the journey under a Virgin VA flight number will still provide a full serve of frequent flyer points and those all-important status credits, in line with the fare type purchased.

Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers plus paid-up Virgin Australia lounge members can also continue enjoying lounge access in Brisbane prior to Alliance Airlines flights when booked on a VA flight number (rather than an Alliance Airlines QQ flight number).

Virgin Australia has no lounges in these regional destinations, although Velocity Gold and Platinum members can stop by the airline’s Brisbane lounge after their Alliance Airlines codeshare flight, in line with the usual Velocity rules – but this perk doesn’t extend to paid Virgin Lounge members.

The shake-up comes as Virgin Australia reduces the size of its regional ATR turboprop fleet from 14 planes down to just six from mid-2017, with Alliance Airlines to fly Fokker 100 and Fokker 70LR jets in their place.

Passengers who had already booked Virgin Australia flights on these routes for travel on or after July 17 2017 will be reaccommodated onto the replacement Alliance Airlines flights.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

Good and bad for these regional flights, jet service but Alliance service. They're older planes but well kept on the inside. I suppose it would've made economic sense to VA.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 109

ATR to a jet will be a massive improvement and positive, the other choice is still turboprops.

Flight times will reduce also as a added benefit.

21 Sep 2011

Total posts 65

Does it mean these flights can no longer credit to KrisFlyer or Airpoints, etc? 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 736

It's a win on the hardware side, an older but well-maintained comfortable jet. If I remove my glasses it almost looks like a BOAC VC-10 :)

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 279

not a bad way to go for the people up there but would rather a more modern jet to replace the ATR 72'S.Sure the replacements are the right size to take over but there's no A319'S OR SMALLER 737'S anymore even ones on the used market they can get and train the pilots up on in time to be the step onwards.

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 273

So why are they ceding?
"The shake-up comes as Virgin Australia reduces the size of its regional ATR turboprop fleet from 14 planes down to just six from mid-2017" (ATRs being the planes flown on these routes).

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 273

Thank you, what is the reason they are reducing from 14? I'm not clear on that.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

They're only keeping the newer ATR 72-600s in the fleet and phasing out the eight 72-500s. Assume it's part of the fleet simplification (E190s are on the way out too) but would also help improve the utilisation of the regional planes, which I can't imagine would be very high if they're getting rid of more than half the fleet and only needing to alter a couple frequencies.

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