MIAMI – The announcement by the Australian Government on a revised borders opening date, not foreseen before the end of 2021, has prompted Virgin Australian (VA) to update its short-haul international network.
New predictions for the aviation sector, including for international travel, issued by the Australian Federal Government and a low number of visitors expected at least until mid 2022, has pushed VA to delay most of its shorty-haul international flights to at least Decembre 2021. The destinations impacted by this decision include Fidj and Indonesia flights.
Virgin Australia is, however, taking full advantage of the Trans Tasman travel bubble and continue to operate Boeing 737 flights from Sydney (SYD) to Queenstown (ZQN) and Brisbane (BNE) to ZQN, starting September 18 followed by Melbourne (MEL) to ZQN effective December 7, 2021.
Since other New Zealand destinations are not on a high request, VA is deferring them to a later date along with Vanuatu (VLI), Samoa (APW), and Solomon Island (HIR). VA is also taking advantage of domestic travel which is on a positive trend and the airline is continuously reviewing its network so to meet growing internal demand.“While we know some Australians are itching to travel overseas, it is clear that international travel won’t return to normal as quickly as first anticipated." Alistair Hartley, VA Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Click To Tweet
Comments from Chief Strategy Officer
The carrier’s Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Alistair Hartley, commented on the situation, saying, “While we know some Australians are itching to travel overseas, it is clear that international travel won’t return to normal as quickly as first anticipated. We’re being realistic about restarting short-haul international flying, and have today delayed services to the Pacific, and to Bali, Indonesia until at least December.”
He continued by adding “Although we’ve seen positive developments with the trans-Tasman travel bubble and Governments working exceptionally well to manage outbreaks, current demand for travel to New Zealand remains subdued, except for Queenstown, where customers are looking to travel over the September school holidays and the upcoming summer. All other New Zealand services will be deferred for the time being.”
Featured image: Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 VH-YFL. Photo: Noah Pitkin/Airways