It was long thought that Virgin Australia’s Airbus A330s would at some point leave our shores and ply international routes, although the airline surprised almost everybody when the crown went to Fiji – specifically, the 4-5 hour trek between Sydney and Nadi.
With the A330s already boasting international-grade business class seats and soon to offer fully-flat beds at the pointy end, we asked Virgin Australia’s Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton to share why the airline chose Fiji for its A330s over destinations such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
“Fiji is a very important market for us,” Crompton tells Australian Business Traveller, “and the drive behind Fiji was higher traffic that we are experiencing on the weekends and at peak periods such as school holidays.”
“It’s also a flagship product, and we thought: ‘let’s showcase it’,” Crompton shares with a smile, mentioning that the basic economics of supply and demand also favoured the decision.
Earlier this year competitor Fiji Airways was unopposed in offering business class between Sydney and Nadi, although Virgin Australia came to the plate in March by rolling out its own business class seats on flights to the Pacific Islands, and also New Zealand.
“Business class across the Tasman … was one missing piece of our corporate and high-end leisure proposition,” Crompton continues.
“There we were flying across the Tasman on 2.5-3hr flights without a business class product, and it was absolutely critical that we implemented one in line with our vision and our strategy to be a full premium brand airline.”
Predominantly served by smaller domestic-style Boeing 737s, business travellers can now perch themselves at the pointy end while enjoying Luke Mangan-inspired meals and larger seats to trump the premium economy offering they replaced.
Add to that: pre-flight access to Air New Zealand’s brand new Sydney lounge for Virgin Australia’s business class guests, and on-demand inflight entertainment via wireless streaming to your own device or a supplied Samsung tablet.
The only drawback? There’s actually no lounge in Nadi for VA’s premium passengers, although Priority Pass members can stop by the Fiji Airways Tabua Lounge before their Virgin Australia flight, while any Virgin Australia passenger could instead cough up FJD$75 at the door for entry.
Virgin Australia’s Airbus A330s will appear on flights between Sydney and Nadi every Saturday between June 20 and October 24 2015, and on selected days during the Christmas and New Year period.
- This week only: get hands-on with VA's new business class seat
- Virgin Australia: Airbus A330 flights for Fiji
- Review: Fiji Airways Tabua Lounge, Nadi Airport
- New business class seats for VA's Airbus A330s, Boeing 777s
- Fiji Airways Airbus A330 business class review, Nadi-Sydney
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