Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Virgin Australia to begin LAX-Melbourne, Perth-Abu Dhabi non-stops

Virgin Australia have announced plans to launch nonstop service connecting Melbourne and Los Angeles, and Perth and Abu Dhabi in early and mid-2017, respectively.

The new route between Melbourne (MEL) and Los Angeles International (LAX) will strengthen the trans-Pacific network offered by Virgin Australia and its joint-venture partner Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL).

“The United States is a key market for Virgin Australia,” John Borghetti, Virgin Australia Group CEO, said in a statement announcing the new service. “[T]his enables us to offer direct services from Los Angeles from the three biggest gateways in Australia – Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.”

Subject to regulatory approvals, Virgin Australia will begin five weekly flights between MEL and LAX staring April 4, 2017. Flights will leave LAX at 9:10 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday while flights will leave MEL at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Virgin Australia Business Class seat
Virgin Australia Business Class seat
Virgin Australia will launch additional new flights between Perth (PER) and Abu Dhabi International (AUH) on June 9 in conjunction with alliance partner Etihad Airways. Virgin Australia will begin operating three flights per week, increasing from seven to 10 the number of flights offered on the route each week. Etihad currently operates the seven flights.

The new LAX-MEL flights complement existing service offered by Delta and Virgin Australia, which will together offer 25 weekly flights between Australia and the United States and round-trip connections from 230 destinations in the Americas to 49 destinations across Australia and New Zealand.

While Virgin Australia will cease its thrice-weekly SYD-AUH flights in February to enable the introduction of services between MEL and LAX, alliance partner Etihad Airways will add three new weekly services on the route to maintain twice-daily flights between the city pair. Virgin Australia will also reduce the frequency of its Brisbane-LAX flights in April from daily to six times per week.

New flights between LAX and MEL will be operated using Boeing (NYSE:BA) 777-300ER aircraft while flights between PER and AUH will use Airbus A330-200 aircraft, the first time the carrier has used the A330 on a long-haul international route.

Virgin Australia's in-flight bar
Virgin Australia's in-flight bar
Both aircraft will offer Virgin Australia’s award-winning Business Class experience called, appropriately, ‘The Business.’ Key features include individual and private seats in a 1-2-1 configurations that provides every passenger direct aisle access. Lie-flat seats convert into the length of a queen size bed, menus prepared in conjunction with a celebrity chef, and extensive in-flight entertainment offerings.

According to SeatGuru.com, Virgin Australia’s 777s have Business Class seats that are 23 inches of wide with between 77 and 80 inches of pitch. Premium Economy seats are 19.5 inches wide with between 38 and 41 inches of pitch, while standard Economy seats are 18.5 inches wide with 32 inches of pitch.

Seats and space in the airline’s A330s are somewhat smaller. Business Class seats are 19.5 inches wide with 60 inches of pitch while economy seats are 17.4 inches wide with a snug 31 inches of pitch.

Tickets for the new flights on both city pairs go on sale Sept. 21.

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Photos provided by Virgin Australia
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@VirginAustralia

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