Virgin to Restart More International Routes

Virgin Australia returns to Bali and launches new OOL-DPS route
Virgin will launch a new route from Gold Coast to Bali in March 2023. Photo: Virgin Australia.

Virgin Australia has confirmed it will resume flights to two more international destinations in March 2023. The airline will also add a brand new international route from Gold Coast to Bali.

From 10 March 2023, Virgin will resume flights from Brisbane to Port Vila in Vanuatu, which will reopen to tourists next month. This will be the schedule:

  • VA53 Brisbane 10:20 – Port Vila 14:05 (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays)
  • VA56 Port Vila 14:50 – Brisbane 16:45 (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays)

Virgin will join Air Vanuatu on the Brisbane-Port Vila route. Air Vanuatu is resuming flights from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to Port Vila from 1 July 2022.

Virgin Australia will also resume flights from both Sydney and Brisbane to Apia, Samoa from 21 March 2023. Here’s the new Brisbane-Apia schedule:

  • VA75 Brisbane 21:25 – Port Vila 05:10 (+1 day) (Thursdays, Saturdays)
  • VA76 Apia 06:10 – Brisbane 08:55 (Fridays, Sundays)

And here’s the new Sydney-Apia schedule from March 2023:

  • VA99 Sydney 19:50 – Apia 03:05 (+1 day) (Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays)
  • VA100 Apia 04:05 – Sydney 08:40 (Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays)

The 3.05am arrival time and 4.05am departure time in Samoa doesn’t look particularly attractive, although these times will be both shifted an hour later from April when daylight savings finishes in NSW.

From 29 March 2023, Virgin will also launch a brand new daily route from Gold Coast Airport to Denpasar (Bali):

  • VA83 Gold Coast 17:40 – Denpasar 22:15
  • VA82 Denpasar 23:15 – Gold Coast 07:00 (+1 day)

Seats on sale now

Seats on Virgin’s new short-haul international routes are now on sale. Discounted airfares such as $399 return from Gold Coast-Bali (in Economy Lite) are also available until 20 June 2022. You can book on the Virgin Australia website.

Plus, Velocity Frequent Flyer members can earn an additional 2,000 Velocity points when booking a Virgin Australia flight to/from Bali, Fiji, New Zealand, Vanuatu or Samoa by 24 June 2022, for travel until 11 May 2023. To take advantage of this promotion, you would first need to activate the offer on the Velocity Frequent Flyer website.

Velocity reward seats are also now available on all of these new international routes in Economy & Business.

Virgin has now resumed flights to Bali

Virgin Australia resumed flights to Bali yesterday with the first Sydney-Denpasar flight departing in more than two years. The flight was full, but it wasn’t quite smooth sailing. For the foreseeable future, Virgin’s Boeing 737-800 flights from Sydney to Denpasar will need to make a short refuelling stop in Darwin.

The 30-minute “splash and dash” in Darwin will ensure the airline has enough fuel to make the flight to Bali with a full payload of passengers and luggage. It also means Virgin will have enough fuel to divert to a suitable alternative airport in case the flight is unable to land in Bali (e.g. due to poor weather or runway issues). But it also means that the flight now needs to leave Sydney an hour earlier. It will still arrive in Bali at the same time and the return flights from Denpasar back to Sydney remain non-stop.

Virgin’s international restart

Virgin Australia has taken a more cautious approach to restarting international flying. It’s currently only flying to two international destinations – Nadi and Denpasar – and only plans to resume serving its next international destination, Queenstown, in November.

Virgin Australia still has access to slots at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, which it will eventually need to either use or lose to Qantas. But the airline no longer has any long-haul aircraft capable of flying non-stop from Australia to Japan after giving up its Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s at the start of the pandemic.

There has been a rumour that Virgin could be considering a Brisbane-Guam-Tokyo route using Boeing 737s, which would allow Virgin to retain its Haneda Airport slots until it brings some Boeing 787s into its fleet. Guam is also a hub for Virgin’s new partner United Airlines. But at this point, this is nothing more than an unlikely rumour.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]