Virgin Australia group of airlines CEO John Borghetti has confirmed the airline would provide additional capacity over the coming months to meet market requirements and to minimise the impact of ongoing Qantas industrial action on the Australian travel and tourism industry.
“Over the last three months, we have increased our capacity around Australia, adding more than 31,000 seats each week including expanding our presence in the very important Perth market where we have introduced wide body aircraft and Business Class seats,” he said.
“We have added more than 6,800 seats to Perth (we have 31,000 seats to Perth every week, with the Business Class product available on board all flights from the East Coast). We are very committed to this market and believe we have the capacity to support increased demand.
“In addition to this, we have already put plans in place to add extra capacity over the next few weeks, including 3,000 additional seats each week up to 30 October; and the addition of a fifth daily return service from Melbourne to Perth commencing 20 December adding a further 2,300 seats each week.
“We are also closely monitoring the Queensland market to ensure we can meet any additional capacity needs as this important tourism market rebuilds after the devastating floods and cyclones.
“We are well advanced in discussions with alliance partners Etihad Airways and Air New Zealand on providing extra capacity from November, leading into the busy December and January holiday period.
“We will continue to work with all of our alliance partners who are keen to help us support the Australian travelling public and ensure tourism is not affected, both domestically and internationally.
“There will be no change to our pricing strategy during this time as we continue to offer competitively priced fares and conduct sale campaigns as planned with great prices for the summer holiday period – such as Sydney to the Gold Coast from $65 for the sale, and from $75 for other travel dates and Sydney-Perth from $169 for the sale, and from $198 for other travel dates,” Borghetti said.
Meanwhile, Virgin Australia has commenced daily return services between Brisbane and Port Macquarie with new ATR turbo prop aircraft.
Virgin Australia Group Executive ‐ Alliances, Network and Yield, Merren McArthur said the services provided a first daily return service for the Port Macquarie community allowing them to bypass Sydney to travel north to Brisbane and beyond. Guests will be able to connect from Brisbane onto Virgin Australia’s domestic and international network and partner airline flights.
“The direct flights from Brisbane will also support tourism in this popular seaside destination, linking it to Virgin Australia’s extensive Queensland network,” she said.
McArthur said the 68 seater ATR72 would also service the Port Macquarie to Sydney route 28 per week.
The new flights have been welcomed by the Accommodation Association of Australia.
The Association’s CEO, Richard Munro, congratulated Virgin Australia for adding more services to regional areas, and the Federal Government for its investment in local airport infrastructure which has made this new route possible.
“Accommodation and tourism operators in these areas welcome the new flights, which allow greater access for more international and domestic travellers to NSW’s beautiful mid-north coast, and all that Brisbane has to offer,” Munro said.
“It is great to see Virgin Australia expanding into these emerging regional areas, where hard working local accommodation and tourism operators are ready and waiting to welcome guests. Making it easier for international travellers to visit more of Australia’s unique destinations, and for Australians to holiday and travel within Australia will provide a boost to our home-grown domestic tourism industry. This also helps to boost to the economy of Australia as a whole.”