- Stock Code:
- Date Founded:
- Dave Calhoun
- Headquarters Location:
- Chicago, USA
- Key Product Lines:
- Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787
- Business Type:
At a recent CAPA Centre for Aviation conference, Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka was asked when the airline would resume its international operations. The reality is that it started that process late in 2021 with short-haul international services and last week announced another new route for travel-starved Australians.
Virgin Australia (VA) is relaunching services between Adelaide and Bali, commencing on December 14, with tickets now on sale. The daily service will depart from Adelaide International Airport (ADL) and land in the Indonesian tourist magnet of Bali at Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS). It is scheduled as VA113 leaving ADL at 17:50 and arriving in DPS at 20:40 after a 5:20 hour flight. The return leaves DPS at 22:50 and arrives into Adelaide at 06:20 the next day. Adelaide will be VA’s fifth direct route connecting Australia to Bali, joining flights from Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, with services from the Gold Coast launching in March 2023.
The 737 is VAs aircraft of choice
Virgin Australia flies a fleet of Boeing 737-800 planes to destinations around Australia. Photo: Virgin Australia
The re-born Virgin Australia no longer has any of the Airbus A330s its predecessor used on routes to Los Angeles and Hong Kong, having consolidated its operations around one type, the Boeing B737. Data from ch-aviation.com lists the VA fleet comprising 60 B737-800s and two B737-700s, and it will continue using the B737s for short-haul international services, such as to Indonesia and the South Pacific.
When VA emerged from financial administration in November 2020, it confirmed an order for 25 B737 MAX 10 aircraft. These are listed on Boeing’s Unfilled Orders report for August 31, 2022, although that report does not detail which version of the MAX is selected. In August, VA announced it had obtained four B737 MAX 8s, which will be the first of the type to join the fleet when they arrive in early 2023. The airline said these four would be joining “another four MAX 8 aircraft announced in April 2022 and will bring the total Boeing 737 fleet, consisting of B737-700s, 737-800s and MAXs to 92.” VA did not confirm if the additional MAX 8s would be ordered directly from Boeing or an aircraft lessor.
Will we see a MAX vs A321LR battle?
The Adelaide – Bali will run daily until the end of the Australian peak holiday season in late January next year. The airline says it is then planning to reduce the frequency to three times weekly before returning to daily flights from March 26, 2023, subject to customer demand. This means there will be an additional 2,464 weekly seats between Adelaide and Bali for the holiday season, challenging Jetstar’s daily monopoly on the route. With Jetstar recently adding the Airbus A321LR to its fleet it will be interesting to see if the route becomes a head on competition between the 737 MAX and the Airbus A321LR.
Will we see the Virgin Australia B737 MAXs competing with Jetstar’s A321LRs on short-haul international? Photo: Boeing
VA is scheduled to operate 41 return flights per week from Australia to Bali, including the first-ever direct services from Queensland’s Gold Coast Airport (OOL) to the island.To celebrate the new route from Adelaide, VA launched with Economy Lite return fares of AU$399 ($261) and Economy Choice from AU$479 ($314).
Virgin Australia is also expanding its reach into the South Pacific by returning to Vanuatu and Samoa in March 2023. Direct services from Brisbane to Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila, will be five per week from March 10, with a three times weekly service from Sydney launching on March 21. The Samoan capital of Apia will have twice-weekly direct flights from Brisbane from March 23, and add more South Pacific choices to the existing direct flights from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Fiji. VA is also rebuilding its Trans-Tasman network, adding flights to Queenstown, New Zealand, from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from November this year.
Will Adelaide to Bali be popular enough for both Virgin Australia and Jetsar on the route?