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Virgin Australia adds Airbus A330s to Melbourne-Perth

By David Flynn     Filed under: perth, Melbourne, a330, Airbus A330, Virgin Australia, Coast To Coast

Update: we've got first pics and full details on Virgin Australia's lie-flat business class seats on its new Airbus A330s.

Virgin Australia will expand its Airbus A330-based 'Coast to Coast' service to flights between Melbourne and Perth from May 14, as well as adding a daily A330 'morning peak hour' service between Melbourne and Sydney.

The airline says its Melbourne-Perth A330 flights will run twice each day, departing Melbourne at 1pm and 5.30pm for arrival into Perth at 3.15pm and 7.45pm (local Perth time).

Return flights from Perth depart at 8.30am and 5.30pm, arriving in Melbourne at 1.45pm and 10.45pm (local Melbourne time).

Read our detailed review of Virgin Australia's Coast to Coast service, and check out the photo gallery

The morning shuttle between Melbourne and Sydney will commence on May 15, departing Melbourne at 7.15am and arriving into Sydney at 8.40am. The return service will depart Sydney at 10.00am local Sydney time, arriving Melbourne at 11.35am.

The A330 is the big gun of Virgin Australia's domestic fleet, carrying 278 passengers compared to around 180 on the Boeing 737-800 which currently plies the Melbourne-Perth route (and remains the workhorse of domestic services).

It also has more than three times the number of business class seats as the 737 – and these are more akin to international-grade seats than domestic business class seats due to the greater leg room, deeper recline and more comfortable design, all of which are major factors in making the trans-continental trek.

The flights will be served by two new Airbus A330s with a revised 2-2-2 seating layout which drops the much-hated middle seat from the business class cabin, compared to the 2-3-2 of Virgin's first two A330s.

Tickets for both the Melbourne-Perth and Melbourne-Sydney A330 services go on sale today, with introductory fares starting from $99 (one way) from Melbourne to Sydney and $195 (one way) from Melbourne to Perth.

"With our new wide-body services, our premium Business and Economy Class offering and our designer lounge at Melbourne Domestic Airport, we are confident that Virgin Australia will be the airline of choice for the Melbourne market" said Liz Savage, Virgin Australia's Group Executive of Commercial.

Virgin Australia is rolling out business class across its Boeing 737 fleet this week, and will next month launch business class in its Embraer E190 jets.


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 16/1/12 by AirportAddict

Does it actually make it relatively cheaper for the airline when they bring on a new plane that is bigger? does it make air fares lower priced?

1 on 16/1/12 by am

It reduces the cost per seat - the airline takes home the saving though...

1 on 16/1/12 by AirportAddict

pain that it doesnt make it cheaper for the customer... i suppose when they do a sale fare it doesnt hurt them as much.

2 on 16/1/12 by Al

Yeah, but it also gives the airline room for some cheaper fares like these specials and others. I'm happy for them to pocket a bit more so they can stay in business or at least continue to have decent product & schedule. Cheapest fares possible = Tiger!!!

1 on 16/1/12 by AirportAddict

Down with tiger!

1 on 16/1/12 by Al

That's what I mean. Tiger is an example of an airline with rock-bottom fares but look at what you get and how they ended up. I am honestly happy to be paying a bit more money to the airline in return for a better experience and longevity of the airline, product etc.

1 on 16/1/12 by AirportAddict

When they are so greedy that they even want people to stand up, they must not actually care about the customer


I see virgin australia as an airline who wants to satisfy the customer - not just treat them like an idiot so they can make money.

3 on 16/1/12 by John

That's usually -- but not universally -- true. As a general rule cost per seat goes down with larger planes, but I'm sure someone will pop up here with examples of a brand new Embraer getting better seat-mile costs than something like a 747.

1 on 16/1/12 by tronixstuff

Don't forget to account for the extra freight they could jam into an A330. 

2 on 16/1/12 by Alitalia

Just to clarify, Virgin Australia's biggest bird is the B777. 

1 on 16/1/12 by David

Internationally, yes – we're speaking in the context of the domestic fleet.

3 on 24/1/12 by swan2281

I think Virgin Australia should use their A330's on international flights to New Zealand and Fiji. I have flown Virgin to New Zealand and Fiji many times on the 737-800 as their flights are always full. One time when flying with them they overbooked, luckly I got on the plane, can't say the other 30 passengers were pleased considering that was the only flight for the day. I have booked a Trip to Nadi at the end of the year and have noticed that the service has doubled with the option to fly out in the early morning and mid morning. This is evidence that Virgin may benifit from servicing a larger aircraft that can carry more passengers. I have no clue why they withdrew the V Australia  B777-300.


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