When will Virgin Australia resume long-haul international flights?

When will Virgin Australia resume long-haul international flights?

Virgin Australia is expected to remain a predominantly domestic airline, with the exception of short overseas trips such as New Zealand, Fiji and Bali, for at least several years – and no, these Boeing 777s are do not come back either.

Bath Capital abandoned Virgin’s long-haul Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 jets part of a broad “rescue, resize and restart” plan that has seen the airline focus almost exclusively – and, arguably, very successfully so far – on the domestic market.

And while Virgin still owns Boeing 777swho remained parked at parked at Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba, 130km west of Virgin’s Brisbane base, an airline spokesman reiterated to Executive Traveler he has no near-term plans to resume long-haul flights, and certainly not with the fuel-guzzling 777s.

This includes the Boeing 777 which flew from Wellcamp to Brisbane this week, fueling speculation that it is the centerpiece of a future event at virginBrisbane hanger “to celebrate a new era of flight”, the airline teasing him as “one of the most exciting and unique aviation events of 2022.”

Executive Traveler includes this Boeing 777, which belongs to the American company UMF Bank, remains for sale and its 25 minute flight is a requirement to keep the jet salable.

Partner airlines fill the void

In an interim split pricing authorization on Virgin Australia and United Airlines as part of their new partnership launched on May 24the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also noted that Virgin Australia “does not currently operate any long-haul international services and is unlikely to do so in the short to medium term, as it has no no access to the jumbo jets needed to start operating such services.

United Airlines is of course filling that gap, with flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as Sydney to Houston, either underway or resuming.

The Star Alliance member replaces Delta Air Lines as Virgin’s US partner – Delta has since announced its own alliance with Regional Express – while Qatar Airways, Virgin’s new ally also waits behind the scenes.

“The ACCC’s preliminary view is that this proposed codeshare agreement with United Airlines is likely to result in a public benefit as it will assist Virgin Australia in restoring its international network,” the Commissioner noted. ACCC, Stephen Ridgeway, in granting interim approval.

“Currently, it appears Virgin Australia is unlikely to be able to operate its own short-term long-haul international services.”

“These arrangements are unlikely to reduce competition as there is no operational overlap on the routes between Virgin Australia and United Airlines and there are other airlines operating on the routes.”

A matter of whendo not if

Virgin has always insisted it will resume long-haul international flights when demand on its key routes returns, saying “long-haul international operations are an important part of Virgin Australia’s business” but would not resume until the global travel market has recovered – a process that is still in its infancy.

“We are really looking forward to restarting (long-haul international flights) with a main focus on Japan and the United States,” CEO Jayne Hrdlicka remarked in April 2021.

In September 2021 s The Virgin Australia spokesperson said Executive Traveler “We remain in discussion with aircraft manufacturers on a fleet strategy to support the reintroduction of widebody services when demand for long-haul international travel returns.”

However, the pact with United Airlines has fueled speculation that Virgin could to stay out of the game at long range; Virgin’s alliance with ANA could replicate the partnership model for flights to Japan.

Former Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah, who helped bring the airline out of administration in 2020 before Hrdlicka took over the baton, had previously launched a “jumbo jet fleet review” with the aim of replacing the A330 and B777 with a single aircraft type – either the Airbus A350 or the Boeing 787 — citing “significant cost savings from next-generation aircraft.”

“We did a lot of pre-administrative work to replace these two types of aircraft with a more efficient, newer version of a jumbo jet,” Scurrah explained. at a press conference in August 2020.

“We are having discussions with aircraft manufacturers but there will also be leasing opportunities for us, and maybe we go directly to the final solution or maybe we have a temporary leasing solution” had- he then admitted.

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