Virgin Australia has revealed plans to revise and expand its long-haul routes, both east across the Pacific and west across the Indian Ocean.
Commencing in 2017, the airline will launch five weekly direct flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles, and three weekly services from Perth to Abu Dhabi.
But to enable the new services, Virgin Australia will cease operating its thrice times weekly Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights, while its Brisbane-Los Angeles schedule will be reduced from daily to six flights a week.
The trans-Pacific Melbourne-LA route will commence on 4 April and will be operated using a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, while the Perth-Abu Dhabi service will run three times a week from 9 June using an Airbus A330-200.
Virgin Australia will leverage its partnerships on the routes, with Delta Air Lines codesharing on the Melbourne-LA flights and Etihad teaming up on the Perth-Abu Dhabi services.
“The United States is a key market for Virgin Australia and this enables us to service Los Angeles from the three biggest gateways in Australia – Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney,” said Virgin Australia’s group CEO, John Borghetti. “In partnership with Delta Air Lines, we will soon offer 25 services each week from Australia to Los Angeles and remain the only trans-Pacific alliance to offer business class guests lie flat beds with direct aisle access on all services.
“Our A330 aircraft will be deployed on a long-haul international route for the first time on flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi, which increases the number of services offered on the route from seven to 10 per week through our alliance with Etihad Airways,” he added.
Following the schedule changes, passengers will continue to have the option of twice daily flights between Sydney and Abu Dhabi with Etihad.