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VIRGIN OUTLINES GROWTH PLANS

Virgin Australia has announced fast-tracked plans to lease new aircraft, create more frontline jobs and grow its network to further support domestic tourism.

“We’re encouraged by the growth plans being articulated by Australia’s airlines at the moment,” says Sarah Bush, Co-Founder & Director of The Travel Authority Group.

“They certainly reflect the increased client activity in our businesses as Australians plan and book their long-overdue holidays and business trips,” adds Sarah.

The creation of more roles at Virgin Australia will see more than 220 cabin crew return to the skies from the airline’s discontinued long-haul international, ATR regional and Tigerair Australia operations.

The recovery efforts include the reintroduction of 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, and the planned return of more than 80 per cent of the airline’s pre-pandemic domestic capacity by mid-June 2021.

After a year of rolling state-based restrictions, pent-up travel demand is driving the launch of several new and expanded services and frequencies on key holiday and business routes.

Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the airline was strongly focused on its domestic recovery program, which includes delivering experiences guests love while providing great value for leisure travellers, corporates and SMEs.

“We are building a strong and disciplined business, obsessed with providing our customers the very best of Virgin Australia travel experiences,” said Ms Hrdlicka.

“Today, we are operating around 850 weekly return flights, and as we approach the June school holidays, we will add another 220 return flights per week to our schedule. By mid-June, we expect to be operating more than 80 per cent of our pre-COVID domestic capacity,” added Hrdlicka.

New and extended seasonal services include:

  • Melbourne – Hamilton Island (3 flights per week from 08 June to 31 October)
  • Melbourne – Darwin (daily flights from 10 June to 31 October)
  • Brisbane – Launceston (4 flights per week from 17 June to 25 July) – seasonal extension
  • Melbourne – Ballina Byron Bay (5 flights per week from 09 June to 31 October) – seasonal extension
  • Brisbane – Queenstown (4 flights per week from 18 September)
  • Sydney – Queenstown (4 flights per week from 18 September)

Expanded frequencies include:

  • Sydney – Perth (up to 4 flights per day by 23 May)
  • Melbourne – Perth (up to 6 flights per day by 23 May)
  • Sydney – Adelaide (up to 5 flights per day by 23 May)
  • Melbourne – Adelaide (Up to 9 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Brisbane – Adelaide (up to 5 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Sydney – Gold Coast (up to 9 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Melbourne – Gold Coast (up to 8 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Melbourne – Sydney (up to 25 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Melbourne – Brisbane (up to 13 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Brisbane – Sydney (up to 15 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Sunshine Coast – Melbourne (up to 3 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Sunshine Coast – Sydney (up to 3 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Brisbane – Townsville (up to 4 flights per day by 20 June)
  • Brisbane – Mackay (up to 4 flights per day by 20 June)

The airline is hopeful that domestic border closures will soon be a thing of the past and continues to see positive signs of consumer recovery including multiple record-breaking sales days of half-priced fares, with more than 75 per cent of the tickets being booked for travel from May onwards.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

QANTAS ONE MILLION SEATS SALE

We don’t think we’ve ever seen a sale quite like this one.

Here are THREE reasons why:

  1. Flexibility boosted with unlimited flight date changes until at least January 2022 (!)
  2. One million seats on sale from $99 one-way to 55 destinations
  3. Complimentary beer and wine in Economy

We told you it was good.

FARES ARE ON SALE until 15 February for travel from Mid-March 2021.

“We’re thrilled by the built-in flexibility of unlimited date changes until at least January 2022,” says The Travel Authority Group’s CEO, Peter Hosper.

[Customers could previously only make one flight change, for travel until the end of June.]

“Knowing that flexibility is part of your Qantas airfare will be a great source of confidence for our clients. Now more than ever before, prospective travellers need that confidence. We hope more airlines follow suit,” adds Hosper.

The flight date can be changed to any available for sale at the time (up to 355 days in advance). Qantas will waive the change fee (a fare difference may apply).

Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer, Stephanie Tully, said with international borders closed, the best way to drive tourism is by making it even easier for Australians to explore their own backyard.

“As the national carrier, we have an important role to play in helping the industry recover from COVID-19, and we know that given the right opportunity, people are keen to travel,” Ms Tully said.

PREMIUM SERVICE

This month, Qantas is also making further improvements to inflight food and beverage options in line with its premium full-service offering. This includes:

  • Complimentary beer and wine for Economy passengers will continue to be available daily across domestic and regional flights (previously available for purchase on certain flights).
  • New hot meal options in Economy, ranging from gourmet beef pies and roast vegetable quiches to beef and mushroom ragout and roasted chicken with tomato, garlic and lemon sauce.
  • Qantas is the only domestic airline offering a full meal service including at breakfast and dinner, including key capital city routes between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. This will be rolled out to shorter flights in March.

The airline has also advised us that it has reopened the vast majority of its 35 Qantas Club and Business Lounges across Australia, and its Chairmans Lounges.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!

SAFE TRAVEL ZONE WITH NEW ZEALAND

We are delighted to learn that the Australian Government is establishing a Safe Travel Zone with New Zealand from Friday, 16 October.

But before we start packing our bags and booking flights, it’s important to understand how this Trans-Tasman ‘bubble’ works. Because, it’s not quite as simple as Australia and New Zealand opening up to arrivals from each other.

A statement on the Deputy Prime Minister’s website on 02 October said, “We are committed to opening up both domestic travel within Australia and travel with New Zealand, as well as other low risk countries as soon as the health advice says it is safe to do so.”

So, what does that mean exactly?

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has undertaken a public health risk assessment of COVID-19 in New Zealand, which indicated that New Zealand posed a low risk of COVID-19 transmission to Australia.

As a result, passengers from New Zealand will be able to travel to Australia, quarantine-free, from Friday, 16 October, provided they have not been in an area designated as a COVID-19 hotspot in New Zealand in the preceding 14 days.

At this stage, however, there has been no indication of when Australian arrivals into New Zealand will be permitted.

The Australian Government defines a hotspot using a three-day rolling average of three locally acquired cases per day.

“There are currently no COVID-19 hotspots in New Zealand. The last locally acquired case with an unidentified epidemiological source occurred on 21 August 2020. We are working closely with New Zealand authorities to ensure we are notified promptly of any outbreaks there,” Mr McCormack’s statement said.

Any state or territory that imposes travel restrictions consistent with the Australian Government-defined hotspot, as advised by the acting Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, will be able to participate in the Safe Travel Zone.

“After offering these arrangements at the latest National Cabinet, we have reached agreement for this first stage of quarantine-free travel with New South Wales and the Northern Territory. We welcome those jurisdictions’ commitment to reopening Australia to the world,” McCormack said.

Normal visa requirements will apply and travellers returning to New Zealand from Australia will be required to comply with New Zealand’s travel requirements.

We’re dreaming of a swift return to New Zealand

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you!