Virgin Australia launches Queenstown, Wellington flights


Virgin Australia will launch new routes between Sydney and Wellington and between Melbourne and Queenstown from October this year, as the airline prepares to end its partnership with Air New Zealand – with extra flights also being added to Auckland from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

However, existing services from Brisbane to Wellington and from Melbourne to Christchurch will be wound back, with fewer flights each week.

Here’s what’s changing in Virgin Australia’s network to each New Zealand city.

Flights between Auckland and Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane

Virgin’s existing flights between Sydney and Auckland will be ramped up to run double-daily on weekends from October 28, and up to three times daily on weekdays – the third daily service, VA145/VA142, being added to the roster from December 10 2018:

Services between Melbourne and Auckland will also increase to run twice daily in each direction from late October, compared to 11 flights each week at present.

Out of Brisbane, Virgin’s current flying schedule will be rejigged from October 28, reducing to just one flight in each direction on Saturdays, but with a third flight running from Brisbane to Auckland early on Monday mornings and returning late on Friday evening for business travellers:

Notably, Virgin Australia will be the only airline to offer business class on this route, as both Air New Zealand and Jetstar currently fly all-economy planes between the two cities.

Flights between Wellington and Sydney, Brisbane

For Sydney passengers, Virgin will kick off Sydney-Wellington flights from October 28, running five times per week in each direction – breaking the current duopoly on the route held by Qantas and Air New Zealand.

However, existing flights between Brisbane and Wellington will be dialled back to nine flights per week from up to 14 at present, with this change yet to be reflected in the airline’s booking system.

All new and revised trans-Tasman flights will be operated by Boeing 737-800 aircraft, featuring eight business class seats in a 2-2 layout, similar to what you’d find on the airline’s domestic flights.

Other routes not mentioned will continue as normal, including Virgin Australia’s Brisbane-Dunedin service, which is the only international service at Dunedin Airport.