Virgin Australia has been on a new route blitz, announcing six new domestic routes over recent days and bringing forward its planned restart of flights to Fiji.
New Virgin flights to Coffs Harbour
Last week, Virgin announced it would resume up to double-daily flights from Sydney to Coffs Harbour from 11 November 2021, as NSW removes intrastate travel restrictions for fully-vaccinated residents. Virgin will also launch seasonal Melbourne-Coffs Harbour flights, which will run from 18 November 2021 until 25 April 2022 (after the end of the April school holidays).
Virgin is also significantly ramping up its schedule from Sydney to Ballina/Byron Bay from next month. It seems all airlines are expecting high demand to destinations in northern NSW from customers in NSW, ACT and Victoria who will remain locked out of other states like Queensland for the foreseeable future.
Virgin previously served the Sydney-Coffs Harbour route but had withdrawn in April 2021 after Rex entered the route alongside Virgin and Qantas.
New Gold Coast services
From December, Virgin Australia will also launch three new routes out of Gold Coast Airport. New Hobart-Gold Coast and Launceston-Gold Coast services will operate over the summer, while new Gold Coast-Cairns flights will run year-round.
“Virgin Australia recognises there’s a growing demand and increasing confidence to travel, and that’s why we’re excited to announce three new Gold Coast services today, taking off this December,” Virgin Australia Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer Alistair Hartley said.
Virgin has also recently launched several other new routes from Tasmania to South Australia and Western Australia.
“For Tasmania, never before has Virgin Australia operated to this many mainland ports from the Apple Isle. Since September, we have announced six new routes to Tasmania, providing a significant boost to local tourism and over 28000 additional seats each month.”
Adelaide-Sunshine Coast flights returning
From 14 December 2021, Virgin will also resume 4x weekly direct flights between Adelaide and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Virgin previously operated this route temporarily over the Easter school holidays earlier this year.
Virgin brings forward Fiji relaunch
Following this week’s announcement from the Fijian government that vaccinated tourists from countries including Australia will be welcomed back from December, Virgin is also bringing forward its planned restart of flights Nadi by a week – getting in just before Qantas and Jetstar.
From 1 December, fully vaccinated Australian residents will be allowed to travel to Fiji again with a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test. There will be a few other conditions – for example, arriving holidaymakers will need to quarantine for the first 48 hours after arriving at their hotel. But tourists will then be allowed to travel to “safe” areas in Fiji after returning a negative rapid COVID-19 test.
As a result, Virgin Australia now plans to resume Sydney-Nadi flights from 16 December 2021. Melbourne-Nadi flights will restart from 17 December, and Brisbane-Nadi flights are now on sale from the following day.
These will be Virgin’s first international flights since 2020. Although Virgin had planned to resume flights to Queenstown earlier this year, the suspension of the trans-Tasman bubble has pushed back the airline’s plans to return to New Zealand until 2022.
At this stage, Virgin also plans to return to Bali from next year. But many of the carrier’s other international destinations including Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Rarotonga, Tonga and Port Moresby have been axed indefinitely.
Virgin’s flights to Nadi are on sale from $289 one-way for an Economy Lite fare, which excludes checked baggage and seat selection. It’s still not yet possible to redeem Velocity points for Virgin Australia international flights. But you can redeem miles with other Virgin Australia partner airlines such as Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, Etihad Guest miles or Delta SkyMiles.
Fiji Airways plans to resume regular flights to Australia from November. Meanwhile, Jetstar is slated to return to Fiji from 18 December and Qantas from 19 December 2021.