Virgin adds extra flights in response to Sydney’s COVID outbreak

Melbourne, Australia - April 17, 2016: Virgin Over The Moon: On a sunny autumn day, Virgin Boeing 737 VH-VUD “Tallow Beach” takes off from Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport into clear blue skies as it heads to Sydney with a domestic service (VA895) on one of the world’s busiest air corridors.  It is seen passing over the rising moon.

Virgin Australia has added a spate of extra flights and reintroduced several services to unrestricted destinations in response to the developing situation in Greater Sydney and NSW.

The airline is redeploying aircraft and crew to several destinations that are not currently affected by travel restrictions so passengers originally booked to travel to NSW can rebook their holiday for another destination.

The extra flights will also ensure the majority of the airline’s fleet continues to operate throughout the holiday period and many frontline team members can continue to work.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from this pandemic, it’s that Australians have retained their strong sense of passion for travel,” a spokesman for Virgin Australia said.

“Because many have been disrupted by the latest border changes, we’ve updated our schedule and expanded frequencies to several unrestricted destinations these upcoming holidays. 

“There’s still plenty of Australia to see and plenty of flights to choose from for travellers looking for an alternative. We’ll continue to monitor these new flights and add more as travel demand increases.”

Virgin will reintroduce daily flights between Melbourne and Darwin with three flights per week between Melbourne and Hamilton Island, and up to seven flights per week between Melbourne and Ballina Byron.

The expanded frequencies include up to six extra flights between Adelaide and Brisbane, and Adelaide and the Gold Coast, up to 16 extra flights between Brisbane and Cairns, up to four extra flights between Brisbane and Hobart and Brisbane and Darwin, and 18 more flights on popular Melbourne holiday routes, adding more than 3,100 seats to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

The extra services are on sale now and will run over the upcoming holiday period to 11 July 2021.

Aussie states and territories have imposed new travel restrictions on those visiting from Greater Sydney, with some shutting out all NSW visitors.

Western Australia and South Australia have both closed their borders with NSW, while Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania have all identified the seven Greater Sydney LGAs mentioned above as hotspots.

New Zealand paused quarantine-free travel from NSW for an initial 72-hour period from 11:59pm (NZT) on Tuesday night, before the country’s Ministry of Health revealed that an Aussie traveller from Sydney, who visited Wellington from Saturday 19 June until Monday 21 June, had tested positive for COVID-19 upon their return to Australia.

On Wednesday, Virgin Australia unveiled a massive national competition to incentivise Aussies to get vaccinated with thousands of dollars worth of prizes up for grabs.

The airline plans to kick off its ‘VA-X & Win’ competition later this year once all adults are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, offering dozens of free business-class flights and the chance to Velocity Frequent Flyer Points millionaire.

All Aussie residents over the age of 18 who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine once eligibility to get the jab is open to all adults will be allowed to enter.

Featured image source: iStock/BeyondImages

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