In a bit of an unxepected twist to this story, Australian Business Traveller is reporting that the Perth-Abu Dhabi service has been cancelled. While the airline cites ‘changed market conditions’, it comes just days after the confirmation of an Australia–Hong Kong service.
Virgin Australia has advised that guests booked on the services will be re-accomodated onto the codeshare service operated by Etihad:
All guests booked in either Business or Economy Class will be re-accommodated from the 1st of March into the same cabin of service on Etihad Airways flights out lined below:
- VA11 PER-AUH (2305/0635+1): Guests will be re-accommodated on VA7200 (1700/0010+1)
- VA12 AUH-PER (0820/2325): Guests will be re-accommodated on VA7199 (2220/1310+1)
Virgin Australia has announced a shakeup of its international network, with several route changes coming into effect next year. The changes affect services to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi, sees the introduction of new routes and the reduction or withdrawal of other services.
Among the changes, Virgin will be re-introducing flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles. In addition, for the first time, it will be offering services between Perth and Abu Dhabi. These additional services do, however, come at a cost. Services between Brisbane and Los Angeles are set to be reduced, and services between Sydney and Abu Dhabi are to be withdrawn.
Los Angeles services
Aa of April 4, 2017, Virgin Australia will re-introduce services between Melbourne and Los Angeles. Virgin will be operating the route with one their recently refurbished Boeing 777 aircraft. Virgin previously dropped its services between Melbourne and Los Angeles in October 2014. At the time, it boosted its Brisbane to Los Angeles service to daily, however, this will now drop back to six flights per week.
This aircraft that operate this route is going to be be made available through the withdrawal of services between Sydney and Abu Dhabi, in addition to the reduction in services between Brisbane and Los Angeles. The current 3 weekly services between Sydney and Abu Dhabi will be withdrawn from February 4, 2017.
The timetable sees VA23 departing Melbourne at 11.30am on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, with an arrival into Los Angeles at 9am the same morning. On return, VA24 will depart Los Angeles at 9.10pm every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday arriving into Melbourne at 6 am two days later.
Abu Dhabi Services
For the first time, Virgin Australia will offer a service between Perth and Abu Dhabi. This service will operate 3 times per week, and will use the A330-200 aircraft. This will be the first time that Virgin will utilise the A330 aircraft on long haul routes.To date, it has typically been used on the trans-continental services between Perth and the eastern seaboard. The new Perth service will be offered on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Offering a late evening departure, it will depart Perth at 11.05 pm, arriving int Abu Dhabi at 6.30 next morning. The return flight depart Abu Dhabi on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday morning, at 8:25am, with an arrival back in Perth in the late evening at 11:25 pm.
The following table summarise the dates and changes that are made by this announcement
|4 February 2017
| Sydney – Abu Dhabi.
|4 April 2017
|Melbourne – Los Angeles
|4 April 2017
|Brisbane- Los Angeles
While the announcement covers off the redeployment of the 777 aircraft, it does not detail how the A330 operating Perth to Abu Dhabi will be made available. It seems like there will need to be a reduction in A330 services on the transcontinental routes to make one available. This suggests that Virgin will be moving to more 737 services between Perth and the east coast.