Virgin Australia Group is postponing most short-haul international flying, including flights to Fiji’s Nadi and Bali in Indonesia, until at least December amid shifting projections around international border restrictions.
The Australian group cites the recent federal budget predictions for the aviation sector, including for international travel, where “visitation is expected to remain low until at least mid-2022”.
However, “continued efforts” by Australia’s state and federal governments to refine trans-Tasman travel arrangements will allow the carrier to operate Boeing 737 services between Sydney-Queenstown and Brisbane-Queenstown, as planned from 18 September, and Melbourne-Queenstown services from 7 December, the airline notes.
It adds that “while the international travel outlook remains uncertain, domestic travel continues to improve and the airline is continuing to review its domestic network to ensure it is responding to growth opportunities here in Australia”.
On the other hand, flights into Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are deferred from sale for the time being alongside services to Port Villa in Vanuatu, Apia in Samoa and Honiara in the Solomon Islands.
“Although we’ve seen positive developments with the trans-Tasman travel bubble and governments working exceptionally well to manage outbreaks, current demand for travel to New Zealand remains subdued, except for Queenstown, where customers are looking to travel over the September school holidays and the upcoming summer,” states Virgin Australia chief strategy and transformation officer Alistair Hartley.
“All other New Zealand services will be deferred for the time being.”
He adds: “Doing the right thing for our customers remains at the heart of our decision making, and while the impact is relatively low due to ongoing border uncertainty, we are working to provide affected customers with alternative options as quickly as possible.”