There will be daily flights from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to Fiji’s Nadi Airport in late December, with Virgin Australia joining the list of airlines planning to restart foreign flights once the country’s borders reopen.
According to the airline’s website, flights between Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne will begin on December 23, 2021.
First-day fares start at $334 for Virgin’s new ‘seat-only’ Economy Lite, and it could be argued that you don’t need much more than a carry-on bag with some light summer clothing and beachwear for Fiji.
Qantas and Fiji Airways have also scheduled flights beginning in December as the island nation prepares for the return of international tourists, with Australia accounting for more than half of all visitors before the outbreak.
Virgin’s Fiji-bound passengers are likely to have access to the airport lounges previously managed by No1 Lounges but now managed by Swissport and due to be rebranded to join the Aspire network.
The trip to Fiji fulfils CEO Jayne Hrdlicka’s April vow that “short-haul international” services such as the Pacific Islands would return “as soon as the borders open.”
Due to the prolonged prohibition of trans-Tasman travel, the airline was forced to postpone its planned return to New Zealand from September to December, including flights from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to Queenstown.
The addition of Fiji to the schedule also marks Virgin’s first foreign flights since its bankruptcy in April 2020 and subsequent rescue by US-based Bain Capital in September of that year.
Although Virgin has primarily been a domestic-only airline for the past 18 months, the company has always maintained that a return to international flying was in the works, initially on short-haul routes to New Zealand, Fiji, and Bali.
All of them are within the range of Virgin’s workhorse Boeing 737 aircraft. However, destinations such as Asia and the United States will stay out of reach until the airline receives new long-range jets to replace the Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s that Bain has discarded.
Virgin is now upgrading its Boeing 737 fleet, with nine additional jets — the majority of which were previously flown by Singapore Airlines’ regional unit SilkAir – joining the fleet between October 2021 and February 2022.
Source: Executive Traveller