Virgin will pull one A330 from east-west routes for Hong Kong

By David Flynn , March 27 2017
Virgin will pull one A330 from east-west routes for Hong Kong

Virgin Australia will reduce domestic Airbus A330 flights in order to launch its new Melbourne-Hong Kong route in July 2017.

The unusual schedule of flights from Melbourne to Hong Kong – which will run five days each week but with departure times ranging from shortly after midnight to mid-morning – means that Virgin needs more than one A330 for the route, compared to the single-aircraft requirements of Qantas' fixed timetable.

While Virgin already has one A330 at its disposal due to the cancellation of planned flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi, a second  jet from the airline's six-strong A330 fleet will also be drafted for flights to Hong Kong.

Sharing the plane pain

Australian Business Traveller understands that Virgin will reschedule east-west flying so that the A330 will be removed from the three major east-west routes of Sydney-Perth, Melbourne-Perth and Brisbane-Perth rather than pulled off a single city pair.

Brisbane was considered most at risk from such a move, with only one A330 running most days a week as VA474 and VA469, but by spreading the load Virgin has avoided its spiritual base from becoming a Boeing 737-only transcontinental route.

The overnight 'redeye' flights from Perth to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will all remain on the well-appointed A330s, Virgin says.

Qantas could soon face a similar situation, with the airline last week granted "unlimited capacity and frequency" on Australia-China flights by Australia's International Air Services Commission.

The flights can be operated by Qantas or Jetstar, in addition to codeshare services with partner China Eastern.

Qantas already flies between Sydney and Shanghai, and in January 2017 restarted its Sydney-Beijing route, with both routes on an Airbus A330, and its 18-strong fleet of domestic A330-200 jets provides a deep pool from which Qantas could draw.

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 144

They should look at AA's transcon A321 as a good east - west and trains-Tasman option. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 122

Firstly, VA doesn't command a revenue premium to warrant such a premium heavy aircraft and secondly they shouldn't be adding aircraft types to their fleet.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

I regularly fly the Virgin A330 on the BNE-PER run on VA474.  Plane always seems to be half full.

Also, to be pedantic, only the 737 operates the PER-BNE red-eye.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 351

Here is an idea Virgin.....get more wide bodies!

Wow, such insight, I bet Virgin Australia wishes you were the CEO because clearly you could fix things just like that. #ArmchairAirlineCEO

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 351

 Thank you, and I am sure I could.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 447

VA469 PER - BNE seems to run at different times of the day and not always with 332.   There are some days with no 332 service.  Not a good way to lure J customers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 349

Well that's just Virgin's style... inconsis

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

a search of various/many dates in AUG/SEP of PER-BNE, PER-SYD AND PER-MEL. NONE have a REGULAR WEEKDAY SCHEDULED A332 on the 'red-eye'. I can only find A332 spasmodically scheduled PER-MEL flights. Most A332 flights ex PER appear as 'afternoon' flights.  Can AUSTBT/VA please confirm that ALL VA red-eyes ex PER will be an A332.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

I fly the red eye PER-BNE during the week every fortnight.  It has been 737s since 2014.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

thanks Chris_PER. Yet AUSBT state ALL RED EYES WILL REMAIN?? A330s. Some is telling porkypies!!

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2405

That all west-to-east red-eyes will be A330s is what Virgin Australia has told us in preparation of this article.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

As AUSTBT/VA has stated ALL RED-EYES WILL REMAIN (they never have been ALL)  A330s!!! 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2405

Actually this is what Virgin Australia had told us, not 'our' statement per se.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Jul 2013

Total posts 81

Only downside is no PRE ECO - unlike CX & QF... Lost opportunity..?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Dec 2016

Total posts 33

Well they do only have 6 A330's, so this was not a big surprise.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 264

I would imagine QF would want to try and keep as many A330 on the Perth routes as possible, once again leaving its competitor  floundering, why not put the boot in when you can.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

And what discount will they be providing for 737 transcon services vs A330 (esp red eyes?) I assume its at least 25% cheaper? Or do they price them the same and then just leave it up to pax to manage their own disappointment?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

You have to remember most people are not as informed about aviation products as the people you find on this site. Most wouldn't know what sort of plane they're flying on, let alone that there are huge differences in products. You'd find slightly more business-class passengers pay attention to it but i'd wager it's not the majority and airlines know that.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

Sadly this is exactly what they do :-(

Qantas

19 Jun 2015

Total posts 18

3 across economy seating and tiny biz cabin is not a good way to fly long haul PER BNE or even SYD. No wonder QF eat VA on Perth routes

18 Apr 2016

Total posts 5

Flying to Perth from the east coast is no where near long haul. Its actually quite funny you think it is. Put another 9-10hrs on the flight and then you can say long haul.

Qantas

19 Jun 2015

Total posts 18

The airlines class it as "long haul domestic". Their words not mine. And from Perth everything is a haul of some sort


12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

"Qantas could soon face a similar situation, with the airline last week granted "unlimited capacity and frequency" on Australia-China flights by Australia's International Air Services Commission."

I was confused by this, so I went to look.
It appears that the Australia/China air service agreement changed from seat per week based to open skies/unlimited in Feb.
It looks like the following QF application for unlimited capacity was to update their existing seat based limit to the new agreement.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Oct 2014

Total posts 15

QF will only add capacity to China if it can make money, there is a huge amount of capacity between China and Australia and so it maybe best for QF to allow current capacity in the short term to be grown into and allow things to settle for a while?


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