Virgin Australia to begin Perth-Abu Dhabi flights

By Chris Chamberlin, September 19 2016

Well that didn't last very long... Virgin Australia has announced it will not go ahead with the mid-year launch of its Perth-Abu Dhabi flights, saying "subsequent changes in market conditions have made the route no longer viable."

More details here: Virgin Australia axes Perth-Abu Dhabi flights

PREVIOUS | Virgin Australia will begin direct flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi from June 9 2017, axing the current Sydney-Abu Dhabi route from February 4 next year.

The flights will be served by Virgin Australia's Airbus A330-200 aircraft, recently fitted with the airline's new 'The Business' seats in business class.

AusBT review: Virgin Australia A330 business class

Running three days each week, flight VA11 is wheels-up in Perth on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 11:05pm, touching down in Abu Dhabi at 6:35am the following morning.

On the return, VA12 takes to the skies at 8:20am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays to reach Perth at 11:25pm.

With the exception of seasonal flights from Sydney to Fiji, this marks the first time Virgin Australia's A330s have appeared on long-distance international routes.

Australian Business Traveller understands the airline will subsequently trim its transcontinental A330 schedule by 3.5 flights per week, with the twin-aisle jet being replaced by a smaller Boeing 737 on selected daytime Melbourne-Perth and Brisbane-Perth flights.

Etihad Airways will retain its existing daily Perth-Abu Dhabi flights, but will increase its Sydney-Abu Dhabi services to double-daily from early February – up from 11 per week – to cover the three days each week on which Virgin Australia will no longer fly.

The afternoon EY451 flight will continue to use a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fitted with first class, business class and economy, while the already-daily Airbus A380 service with The Residence, First Apartments, Business Studios and economy will remain.

Virgin Australia business class passengers will have access to the Etihad Premium Lounges in Terminal 1 (pictured) and Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi Airport, while Velocity Platinum cardholders in business class or economy can relax in the Etihad First Class Lounge.

Velocity Gold cardholders stuck in economy will instead be sent to the smaller Al Reem Lounge run by Plaza Premium (below), while it's not yet known which lounge Virgin Australia passengers will have access to in Perth.

The airline will also re-launch its Melbourne-Los Angeles route with five flights a week from April 4 2017, but will reduce Brisbane-LA services from daily to six-times-weekly from April 7 2017.

Connect with other business travellers in our Virgin Australia discussion group

ChrisCh
ChrisCh

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!

Kogglogs

Kogglogs

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 147

Am I reading this correctly? Between 04 Feb 2017 and 09 June 2017 there will be no VA operated flights from Australia to AUH? EY must be happy with the additional revenue they'll achieve during this 3 month gap!

ChrisCh

ChrisCh

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2917

You're correct re: dates. Virgin Australia is instead flying its Boeing 777-300ERs from Melbourne to LAX, but from April 4 2017.

russell

russell

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 323

Any word on what happens to those booked with VA on the SYD-AUH flights....assume they will bump them to the EY flight?

russell

russell

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 323

Any word on what happens to those booked with VA on the SYD-AUH flights....assume they will bump them to the EY flight?

infrequentff

infrequentff

04 Dec 2015

Total posts 3

On a personal note, I'm sad to see VA29/30 cancelled. I liked being able to fly premium to AUH and then economy on the shorter leg. It made the journey to Europe so much more comfortable especially for those of us who are self funded and cannot justify the spend to fly business. 

haz1003

haz1003

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Nov 2014

Total posts 34

Great for Perth, maybe they are secretly considering Perth - London. Hehe

MattJelonek

MattJelonek

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 222

Next in the news pipeline, Perth to Mainland China with VA!

AwaywithMike

AwaywithMike

23 Jun 2011

Total posts 88

Where does the extra capacity from / at whose expense - for PER/AUH?

StudiodeKadent

StudiodeKadent

20 May 2015

Total posts 584

This is probably (from Virgin's perspective) a better use of A330s than the Transcon market, so I understand their decision. It is good to see Virgin operating more international services.

Grannular

Grannular

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 287

Well that is certainly an interesting development. The reduction on transcon A330 services is disappointing but good to see Virgin try something unexpected out of Perth. I hope Perth people support this service so Virgin isn't too scared to expand elsewhere

MattJelonek

MattJelonek

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 222

Shame that I wouldn't be able to leave to PER on this flight on Monday as I normally want to depart a European city on that particular date to keep my week in Aus normal :(

jds747400

jds747400

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 Mar 2015

Total posts 4

What a great move - it was obvious as a BNE-PER flyer for work that the 330 would not sustain on that route. J was always less than half full, although Y was often full. I knew it would disappear some day and this sounds like a great choice for VA. More what the 330 was designed for also.

Chris_PER

Chris_PER

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

Well, I think that has taken us all by surprise.

ErinB

ErinB

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

30 May 2016

Total posts 11

Well this thoroughly messes up my plans of upgrading myself and my partner to & from Abu Dhabi on my way to Berlin next year. Not sure its worth the jump across to Perth to stay on VA metal. 

Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle

12 Apr 2016

Total posts 9

Travelling via Perth is an option because Terminal 1 and Terminal 1 Domestic are located next to each other for seamless transfers. 

grov

grov

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 149

With the PER arrival of 23:25, will the aircraft continue onto either SYD or MEL?

Shoudy Chen

Shoudy Chen

Qantas

13 Jun 2015

Total posts 143

The flight won't continue onto SYD/MEL. Instead passengers traveling from AUH to PER need to clear immigration, customs and transfer to the Virgin Domestic Terminal to catch a connecting flight to either Sydney or Melb.

Grannular

Grannular

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 287

Based on current flight schedules to the east, there wouldn't be enough time to turn the AC around. It would most likely overnight in Perth and then be first flight out in the morning.

MattJelonek

MattJelonek

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 222

Wouldn't it be great if they offered PE on this plane on this route!

User

User

01 Jan 1970

Total posts 0

I presume this gives a different configuration option to Etihad with VA providing economy, premium and business for the route? As Platinum member provides another option to consider with Velocity points getting to Europe :-)

Grannular

Grannular

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 287

Virgin don't provide PE on their A330's. So no, they won't be providing Premium Economy on this route

Electricwireles

Electricwireles

01 Jul 2016

Total posts 3

Hang on. Wasn't the SYD - AUH flight the one codeshared with Alitalia? Does that mean Alitalia has lost Sydney again? 

trisreed

trisreed

VA

17 Jun 2014

Total posts 15

Does that mean we will get access to the Qantas International lounge in Perth as we do now with EY? Or the more predictable outcome of the SQ lounge (which begs the question that the EY metal flights will still give access to the Qantas International lounge?).

traveller1

traveller1

18 Mar 2016

Total posts 10

Good for Perth, bad for Sydney Plat/Golds

louisosborne

louisosborne

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Apr 2015

Total posts 2

Any news of the Weekly AUH-KUL flight will still be operated by Virgin Aircraft for Etihad?

Gaburton

Gaburton

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Apr 2015

Total posts 3

Just to clarify Etihad don't run Premium Economy on any of there aircraft, it is either a 2 class (J & Y) or a 3 class (F, J & Y). Again with variations depending on aircraft type.

Also regarding the AUH - KUL wet lease that was discontinued earlier this year. 

With Etihad owning a large portion of Alitalia, I'm sure they will just move the code share across to Etihad metal. 

henrus

henrus

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

Maybe NZ's promised Perth lounge will be open by then. Currently, both NZ and EY use the QF lounge but NZ a saying they plan to open something which can hopefully serve both EY and VA as well.

Zac

Zac

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2014

Total posts 129

Won't the new pier in Perth contain a new Virgin lounge that could be used by Domestic and International? Or am I way behind the news...

trisreed

trisreed

VA

17 Jun 2014

Total posts 15

The new pier opened a year or so ago. The Virgin lounge is past domestic security so not too practical. Can't imagine them ever building on in the international pier as they already operate two lounges in Perth. Interesting that I have previously left from Gate 50 to AUH and seen, behind glass, the Virgin (domestic) lounge about 30m away from me!

LP

LP

30 Jun 2016

Total posts 43

What's the likelihood of the 332 being refitted in economy? J is great, but Y is just bearable for a 5 hour transcon, wouldn't fancy a 10 hour PER-AUH flight...

justcallmeryan

justcallmeryan

VA Platinum

21 Nov 2013

Total posts 20

I'd say highly unlikely given their financial woes and the fact that they've just re-done them. I do agree with you though that Y on their A333's for that long is not going to be much fun.... EY all the way!

LtdEd

LtdEd

29 Aug 2014

Total posts 3

The new Virgin terminal is open at Terminal 1 in Perth... this is also the "international" terminal, and has a Virgin lounge. So to move from an international flight to domestic, no terminal change is required... just customs clearance. 

Leaving on an international flight, you still have to clear customs, and that is only in the international side of the terminal... so (if they let you), you could go into the lounge if you're really early, but then you'd have to rush, and hope there is no queue at customs. 

Perth international terminal doesn't have a good airside lounge unfortunately. 

DBPZ

DBPZ

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 101

SYD-PER-AUH-LHR

Better for earning more status credits though.

Kogglogs

Kogglogs

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 147

I guess with QF sniffing around the idea of commencing flights to LHR from PER with the 787, it makes sense that VA would also consider initiating flights to Europe from PER (albeit via AUH, not direct to LHR). Potentially trying to get a bit of a jump on QF there.

Rod H

Rod H

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 111

Good in some ways but not so good in other ways. One of the very big reasons I fly with VA is because of their Business Class on the A330 and I fly Bne- Per fairly often and make sure I go via Sydney to enjoy " The Business" . If VA are going to reduce their A330  Syd-Per and Bne-Per flights to an extent where it's not often enough to usually get a reward/ points +pay Business seat then I reckon it's a change to the " Big Rat" for me . Who in their right mind would spend around 4 hrs in a VA B737 very ordinary Business Class seat when for about the same money one could go with QF and enjoy a much better seat in every way.For years I have supported VA over QF whom I always felt thought they were the Lords of the Sky but this might force me to make the change.

Sad really !!!!!

sdacey

sdacey

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Sep 2016

Total posts 2

No more upgrades from PE to Business on SYD to AUH, no point in Velocity any more. Just as I'd got to Platinum again! What a shame. Status match anyone?

Richrrrd

Richrrrd

Virgin Atlantic Airways - Flying Club (Gold)

24 Jul 2013

Total posts 15

I was hoping to get VA metal from MEL/BNE/SYD in September next year. Are my options either VA via PER or EY?

ChrisCh

ChrisCh

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2917

Richrrrd: Yep.

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