Virgin announces new flight routes in preparation for border opening

Following the resignation of Virgin Australia’s former CEO Paul Scurrah, the airline has announced it will be rolling out a number of new domestic routes as state and territory border restrictions begin to ease.

The airline will start flying into key hotspots they expect will boom in parts of the country leading into summer, especially as Queensland gears up for a border reopening with NSW.

The airline will reintroduce its five-time weekly service between Brisbane and Emerald, as well as a twice-weekly service between Brisbane and Alice Springs.

In addition, Virgin will increase flights between Brisbane and Hamilton Island to 10 services per week and flights to Adelaide will return to three times daily.

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Virgin Australia will increase some Queensland flights next month.Source:News Regional Media

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As regional NSW continues to see a boom in intrastate travel, the airline will be increasing flights to Ballina/Byron and also Sydney to Adelaide from mid-November.

“The expansion of our network to include Emerald and an additional route into Alice Springs recognises our longstanding commitment to regional Australia and will deliver choice and convenience for those communities and businesses,” Virgin Australia Group chief commercial officer John MacLeod said.

“The increased frequencies to Byron Bay, Hamilton Island and Adelaide will help the tourism industry to get back on its feet.”

Earlier this month, new research from the Business Council of Australia revealed the country is losing a whopping $319 million a day in domestic and international air travel because of ongoing border closures.

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Virgin Australia will increase flights between Sydney and Ballina/Byron Bay.Source:istock

The Government shut the nation’s border in March, while domestic borders in some states remain closed. According to the research, the economic fallout from the shutdown of domestic aviation was $17 billion while the loss of international flights cost the economy $61 billion.

“State border closures have seen passenger numbers on Australia’s busiest air routes plummet 91 per cent since March, crippling the aviation sector and causing harmful knock-on effects in tourism and hospitality,’’ Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“Every day flights remain grounded costs Australia $69 million – or $2.1 billion a month. When you add in international aviation losses at $250 million a day or $7.6 billion per month, we are talking about an enormous hit to our economy.”

As a result, Qantas and Virgin, Australia’s two largest airlines, have laid off more than 11,000 people this year.

It is likely Australia’s international borders will stay shut until a vaccine is rolled out across the country with the federal budget last month revealing international flights would probably not return to any normal level until this happens.

But the BCA said Australia’s political leaders need to look at opening international borders now.

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