Virgin Australia to fly A330s from Melbourne, Brisbane to Fiji

By Chris Chamberlin , January 19 2016
Virgin Australia to fly A330s from Melbourne, Brisbane to Fiji

Virgin Australia will spread the wings of its newly-refurbished Airbus A330s onto more international routes this year with Melbourne-Nadi and Brisbane-Nadi (Fiji) next on the agenda.

Come late June 2016, the A330 fleet – now fitted with ‘The Business’, Virgin Australia’s new business class – "will be flying more internationally with services from Brisbane and Melbourne to Fiji in peak periods to commence from late June 2016," a Virgin Australia spokesperson has confirmed with Australian Business Traveller.

The move follows “the successful introduction of the wide body aircraft between Sydney and Fiji in early 2015.”

It's a significant step up from the reclining business class seats on Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737 aircraft currently seen on both domestic flights and shorter international flights to New Zealand and Fiji.

Now available on all Virgin Australia flights to Fiji, New Zealand, year-round...
Now available on all Virgin Australia flights to Fiji, New Zealand, year-round...

The Business comprises a true international-grade fully-flat bed with direct aisle access for every guest, a plethora of storage options surrounding the seat, a personal fixed inflight entertainment system and power ports to fuel and recharge gadgets like laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Coming to the A330s: Virgin Australia's latest business class seat
Coming to the A330s: Virgin Australia's latest business class seat

AusBT review: Virgin Australia 'The Business': Sydney-Perth

Virgin Australia will roster the A330 on Melbourne-Nadi flights every Saturday between June 25 and October 8 2016 and on Brisbane-Nadi each Sunday from June 26 to October 2.

The airline will also upgrade Sydney-Nadi to the A330 on Saturdays over the busy Easter peak period between March 26 and April 23, and again on Saturdays from June 25 to October 8.

Also read: VA exec: why Fiji got our first international A330

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

29 Aug 2013

Total posts 60

Chris, Nice article but this is old news as the routes and days were announced back on the 18th of November 2015 in the media release that accompanied the AGM presentation. Per the release:

Virgin Australia’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft will be deployed on the Fiji route from:

  • Sydney each Saturday over the Easter period between 26 March to 23 April 2016 and from 25 June to 08 October 2016;
  • Melbourne each Saturday from 25 June to 08 October 2016; and
  • Brisbane each Sunday from 26 June to 02 October 2016

Source: https://www.virginaustralia.com/au/en/about-us/media/2015/VA_ISH_ILH_NETWORK/

Regards,

Boof

Slight whinge time, but I wish VA would send an A330 to Hong Kong!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Feb 2015

Total posts 147

Agree! Although im not sure how their major shareholder SQ would feel about it...

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 97

I think this will be okay since Virgin Australia somehow needs to expand its own market rather than over relying themselves on SQ.

I am confident Hong Kong is on their radar, however, they possibly won't have enough aircrafts for now. Hopefully they will add a handful of A330s to their fleet and we can start seeing this become reality.

FLX
FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

<<..will be okay since Virgin Australia somehow needs to expand its own market..>>

Why?  Or more importantly, why HKG or SIN is the way to go for VA expansion?

<<...rather than over relying themselves on SQ.>>

What exactly is wrong with relying on op partners/owners...especially when your own carrier lacks suitable assets to effectively serve a mkt?  How do U define <<over relying>>?  Who does SQ rely on across the Australia domestic & Trans-Tasman mkt ?  Is that <<over relying>> as well?

<<I am confident Hong Kong is on their radar.....won't have enough aircrafts for now.  Hopefully they will add a handful of A330s...>>

But if VA add expensive widebodiesy(i.e 330) and they still being financially in red today, who will VA be <<over relying themselves> on re financing to acquire such additions to fleet?

FLX
FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

Would feel Australia-HKG with VA's 332 fleet now is a waste of expensive+scarce assets or poor deployment decision per the projected financial return fm such assets.

Most importantly as a rational owner, SQ would feel VA should be financially in the black 1st before talking about 330 fleet expansion for int'l growth.

Similar story re Australia-SIN particularly when SQ codeshare is readily available/accessible for VA customers.

FLX
FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

The reason VA chose NAN rather than HKG is simple:  They barely hv enough 332s to fly around the VA network today.

1)  Hv U noticed that VA planned to deploy these 332 flights to NAN only on  wkends?  That's the off-peak period in the VA domestic trunk system when premium/corp biz travel demand is very low.  In contrast, wkends are when leisure demand to NAN is highest.  In a nutshell, rather than leaving some of these 332s idling on wkends, VA put them to work on wkends.  The only question is where.

2)  Duration of each roundtrip rotation for a 332=

SYD-NAN=About 9hrs

SYD-HKG=Just under 20hrs

Conclusion: VA's 332 can do 2 roundtrips(And earn Rev$/fare twice) on Australia-NAN for every SYD-HK roundtrip(@ prevailing fare level, likely earn far less than double the fare of SYD-NAN) in 24hrs.  

3.  Given that VA's 332 fleet is only available for wkend int'l deployments outside the wkday peak(e.g. Sun-Fri evenings) for VA domestic trunks, if VA want to send 332 to HKG, they'll hv less than 48hrs to play with every wk....meaning no more than twice wkly and only on the wkend(i.e. where there's nearly no corp demand to fill those costly premium seats @ reasonable yield).  In such scenario, VA will be totally uncompetitive against current players' frequencies(14 wkly for QF, 28wkly for CX) on SYD-HKG route or similar.

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 273

I would love to see them hook up with Virgin Atlantic to do a MEL HKG LHR route

FLX
FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

Why?  Or more precisely, can U share the commerical/operational  justifications for VA to do that fm your view/opinion?

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 273

Virgin are a good brand and I for one would love to fly them all the way to London

Perhaps not quite what you're looking for but there's always the option of Virgin Australia from Sydney or Brisbane to Los Angeles and then Virgin Atlantic from there to London. :)

FLX
FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

<<Virgin are a good brand>>

Very successful global branding indeed particularly for its relatively tiny op scale+size worldwide....clearly punching above its weight @ least in terms of branding+mkting.  Some die-hard Virgin fans will go out of their way(Way out in some cases) to fly with them.

But operationally, what do U suggest will be the possible ways VA can fly someone <<all the way to London>> today(or in near future) fm MEL per your demand in a commercially/financially rational manner(i.e. @ least avoid hi-risk of $ loss due to uncompetitive schedule/frequency even if it somehow strangely choose to forfeit the easier/lower risk $ to be made fm elsewhere in their network)?

Many folks seem to hv forgotten that until 4-5yrs ago, VA(Branded as VirginBlue back then) was 99% only an Australian domestic LCC mkt player which happened to hv launched its 1st intercon op to LAX(Still its only U.S. destination today) via VAustralia brand just a yr earlier.  In terms of intercon competitiveness, VA today is still a toddler among much much larger+more mature/powerful adults.  When VA has just managed to crawl on the floor(i.e. established its FSC-Full Service Carrier credentials/mkt share in the domestic mkt), it's probably better to learn how to walk properly(i.e. financially turning fm red to black) 1st before trying to run in a marathon(i.e. the super-tough intercon mkt infested with experienced predators).

Some volks hv also forgotten that a Virgin brand had already tried to serve the LHR-HKG-SYD mkt yrs ago.  The justification  to launch such service was precisely a belief/faith on there were enough folks in the mkt who thought <<Virigin are a good brand>> and <<would love to fly them all the way to London>>.  And it wasn't a newbie Virgin brand trying to enter a tough arena for the 1st time.  It was VS, by far the most experienced+powerful longhaul brand in the entire Virgin global airline portfolio.  The rest are history and an expensive lesson for Virgin group to learn not to rely on brand loyalty/affinity alone when committing millions of $ of assets on highly competitive routes.

Don't get me wrong, VA and Virgin partners may 1 day fly fm Australia to LHR.  But it surely won't happen in 5yrs...may be 10-15yrs fm now.  This is particularly obvious when VA already sell tickets fm Australia to LHR(Actually to the whole EU unlike what VS will be capable to offer to VA) today thru codesharing partner EY over connection @ AUH hub.  Not to mention the fact that EY actually owns far more VA shares than those held by any other Virgin branded entity.

Of course, if U only care about brand and hate the EY brand(Objectively has 1 of the best inflight product in the world today) then U'll be disappointed by VA.

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 125

Reading that comment caused me physical pain.  This is a web page, not a text message.  How about cutting back on some of the abbreviations?

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 273

Virgin have a big UK market, I wonder what the Sydney bound passengers do now since VA dropped Oz?

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 160

So which flights then will NOT have the 330? I'm guessing Some SYD-PER flights will lose the 330.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 144

Being that the flights are weekend flights it could be planes that aren't needed or VA will roster more 737's onto the Perth routes for weekends.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 705

This is a commonsense move by VA.  It means the A332s are utilised on weekends when they are not needed for as many trans-continental services and when the demand for services to NAN is highest.  Were DPS not such an over-supplied market, they could've done something similar there.

Services to HKG should not be seen as an alternative.  Any attempt to launch into that market would need daily services and that means a bigger fleet which is not currently on VA's agenda.

The article talks about the availability of the superior J class on the NAN services but realistically the launch is all about a greater Y capacity for weekends.  I doubt there is a huge demand for J on any NAN services given its relative short sector length and the cabin will largely be filled with FF redemptions and honeymooners.


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