Virgin Australia to cede Bali routes to Tigerair, axe Phuket flights

Virgin Australia to cede Bali routes to Tigerair, axe Phuket flights

Virgin Australia will hand over some of its international leisure routes to low-cost arm Tigerair Australia in a bid to boost its bottom line, while axing its Perth-Phuket flights on January 31, 2016.

All-economy Tigerair flights will move onto services from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to Denpasar (Bali) from March 23, 2016, marking an international debut for the previously domestic-only airline. 

The Tigerair flights will use three Boeing 737-800 aircraft from the Virgin Australia hangars, which will be reconfigured and rebranded in Tigerair livery, instead of the shorter-range Airbus A320s which currently rule the Tigerair fleet.

The make-over will include five rows of 'extra legroom seats' – 18 at the front of the cabin, and 12 at the exit rows – offered to passengers as a cost-extra option.

There will also be "a mix of free and paid wireless inflight entertainment for use on passenger’s own devices."

Virgin Australia will continue to fly to Denpasar from Sydney, Brisbane and Port Hedland using its own Boeing 737 aircraft: offering travellers the option of business class seats and service in addition to economy.

While Tigerair Australia is fully-owned by Virgin Australia, it has long been absent from the Velocity Frequent Flyer program with travellers unable to earn or redeem points on Tigerair flights.

That remains largely the case, although Velocity members will be able to redeem their points on Tigerair's new Denpasar flights, but will not be able to earn points on any Tigerair flights, nor redeem them on other Tigerair routes.

But more flights to NZ

As part of Virgin Australia's international shake-up, its own Sydney-Christchurch route will increase by two services per week from October 25 2015, with Melbourne-Christchurch getting a weekly boost from November 6 2015.

Seasonal changes are also being made on flights from Brisbane to Apia, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Honiara, Nadi (Fiji) and Wellington: in most cases increasing by one return service each week over the peak Australian summer travel period.

Virgin will today report an annual statutory loss after tax of $93.8 million, a $261.8m improvement on the $355.6m loss in the previous year.

On a stand-alone basis, Tigerair Australia reported an underlying loss before tax of $8.6m versus a loss of $25.8m a year earlier.

Also read: Virgin Australia boosts Boeing 737 MAX order

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

40 comments

  • TomCharlie925

    TomCharlie925

    7 Aug, 2015 09:24 am

    Ok. So let me get this straight. Virgin will hand over some of its Bali flights to Tigerair.There is an advantage and a disadvantage at best. The advantage is that it will probably offer incredibly low fares Bali, competing against Jetstar. But the disadvantage is that the complimentary services onboard is gone with Tigerair as a Low-Cost carrier. 

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  • jimmylikesitwet

    jimmylikesitwet

    7 Aug, 2015 09:30 am

    Virgin continues to screw over Melbourne passengers. They removed MEL-LAX a while back and now MEL-DPS. Not saying Qantas always does the right thing by Melbourne but I certainly know where my travel dollars will continue to go. 

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  • Dave

    Grannular

    7 Aug, 2015 09:44 am

    I am sure that if Melbourne people supported the service to the point that it was profitable, it wouldn't get axed.

    I don't understand why people get personally offended when an airline axes an unprofitable route.

    The fact is that the Bali route is majority flown by leisure/tightass passengers and Virgin doesn't have the cost base to support the prices required to fill the planes to Bali. Not to mention running a 737 vs 787/A330 of hte competition

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  • jimmylikesitwet

    jimmylikesitwet

    7 Aug, 2015 10:00 am

    Other airlines can make Melbourne profitable so it's not like Virgin can't, they just chose to focus on Sydney and Brisbane first.

    They have full control over the routes and aircraft so if they're losing to the competition it's their own fault.

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  • mattt

    mattt

    7 Aug, 2015 10:52 am

    Who are making a profit on MEL to DPS? 

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    7 Aug, 2015 03:48 pm

    Wake up Jimmy

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  • Colski101

    Colski101

    8 Aug, 2015 01:09 pm

     Virgin have to compete with LCCs Jetsar, Air Asia X and Garuda which depart MEL within hrs of each other to DPS....

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  • Stewart Smith

    ssmith3104

    7 Aug, 2015 04:48 pm

    Did they ever genuinely fly to LAX from MEL?  Never on the occasions I was booking with them.  I always had to make connections in Brisbane or Sydney.  More recently I've either flown on direct QF or UA flights to LAX, or suffered a domestic QF connection via SYD to take my most preferred QF A380 non-stop flight to Dallas.  With Virgin not offering thru flights to the USA from MEL; not flying to any innovative USA destinations; and rarely even offering the best price, it is no wonder that their MEL market share must be poor.

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  • jimmylikesitwet

    jimmylikesitwet

    7 Aug, 2015 04:50 pm

    They did 3-4 days a week MEL-LAX until October last year. They then removed this so they could go daily BNE-LAX.

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  • Mark Bringans

    Briggo

    7 Aug, 2015 09:32 am

    Tiger is an appropriate airline to fly to Bali to compliment those on-board

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  • eminere

    eminere

    7 Aug, 2015 01:52 pm

    LOL!!!

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    7 Aug, 2015 03:47 pm

    You beat me to it - the equivalent of the jetstar bogan bus to bali!

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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    7 Aug, 2015 04:40 pm

    Come on now, the last time I flew Jetstar a fight broke out onboard and we got priority landing clearance, that’s the upside. 

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  • abudhabi1

    abudhabi1

    7 Aug, 2015 05:48 pm

    That's True.But it makes me miss the days when we used to have Qantas up there more.I still remember back in 2000 going up on the 767 and returning home on a 747.I flew domestic Adelaide to Sydney both ways to link up of which was a international passenger on a domestic sector coming home.I wonder what sort of passengers they have nowadays with all the changes with the exception of Garuda to Virgin and Jetstar.

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  • Sim1

    Sim1

    7 Aug, 2015 09:36 am

    Great how perth people going to get to Phuket now.

    737 was awful choice hope Thai puts a seasonal on

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  • Hayden

    Hayden

    7 Aug, 2015 10:22 am

    They can takeJetstar via singapore phuket or the exact same route with SQ, or even air asia via KL, Thai via Bangkok, I think there is even a QF flight to singapore in there sometimes. plenty of options

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  • Sim1

    Sim1

    7 Aug, 2015 10:44 am

    Problem is in your answer VIA

    thai did direct flights till virgin started them so good chance will put direct back on

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    7 Aug, 2015 05:43 pm

    Chances = slim to none, hate to burst your bubble!

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  • jonno88

    jonno88

    7 Aug, 2015 11:49 am

    I flew Australia-DPS Return last week.

    Outgoing on Jetstar - Almost full flight

    Incoming on Virgin - not even 50% full

    I'm not surprised that it is not profitable. Most of the people on Bali trips want to save as much money as possible

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  • AgentB

    OzAgent

    7 Aug, 2015 12:28 pm

    And of course someone's gotta whinge about Melbourne, book yaself a cheap TT fare and grab an exit seat buddy.  

    I hope they do the same for BNE, bring on the competition it's only gonna bring cheaper fares!! 

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    7 Aug, 2015 03:49 pm

    +1

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  • Andrew Gunn

    _andrewgunn_

    7 Aug, 2015 12:32 pm

     

    I think the sadest news today is that Virgin has now replaced all its international flights out of Adelaide and Perth  with Tiger, reminds me of Qantas 3 years ago.

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  • abudhabi1

    abudhabi1

    8 Aug, 2015 12:46 pm

    It is disappointing to say the least FOR ADELAIDE.Yes Virgin fo have have codeshare arrangements to Auckland with Air New Zealand and to Singapore with Singapore Airlines for the South Australians as international services but for people heading to Bali It's either go Virgin or Qantas to Melbourne and connect with Garuda or put up with a Jetstar A320 from now on If you want anything decent.Truly a sad day.They should bring back Garuda to fill the gaps they operate it on the outbound as a MEL-ADL-DPS and do the same on the return using an A330.

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  • Ses Clark

    adrian01

    7 Aug, 2015 12:41 pm

    The most complained about airline in Australia to takeover Virgins non performing routes. No thanks Steve, I will fly on the 2nd most complained airline as of March next year.

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  • guerre64

    guerre64

    7 Aug, 2015 01:27 pm

    I'll just fly via Sydney or Brisbane now and score the extra SCs.

    It's a shame Virgin are stopping these direct flights from Melbourne as every time I have been on one they are chockers!! Obvioiusly, the economics aren't workign for them right now and, let's face it, every airline screws over some major city at one point or another.

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  • riley

    riley

    7 Aug, 2015 01:33 pm

    Virgin have been the most expensive option out of Garuda, VA and Jetstar and the only one's operating a narrow body aircraft. Limited seat pitc, two toilets for 160 people in the main cabin, no seat back entertainment.... It made for a hard case to fly Virgin and they couldn't do it cheaper. Subbing tiger in is a smart move as people get what they pay for.

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  • brettmacf

    brettmacf

    7 Aug, 2015 05:06 pm

    After having just returned from Bali in Jetstar 787 cattle class, it is a low cost and I guess a good value offer and was very popular. But of course seat painfully cramped and uncomfortable, entertainment limited, only 3 loos for all of economy, they made us fly in darkness even though it was a day flight (very weird), service pleasant enough.

    I was excited about the 787 but for a new aircraft it was not in good shape. The basins in the econ loos were all blocked, mouldings around the overhead bins flapping loose. Did I mention uncomfortable?

    I don't mind paying a little more for comfort so I think we'll be going SIA if we return to Bali. My sister-in-law also travelled with us but on Garuda and raved about it. Shame you have to transit through SYD. I'd rather transit through Singapore.

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  • CityRail

    CityRail

    7 Aug, 2015 02:22 pm

    With no partners enabling connections to either Bangkok, Chiang Mai, India etc from Virgin Australia, it makes sense to axe PER - HKT services.

    Passengers yes they will be required to join VA's partner Singapore Airlines and change at Changi for a connecting plane stopping at Phuket. However, it will only increase journey time by just 90 minutes if connection time can achieve within 50 minutes.

    Moreover, with the transfer, all passengers are compensated by S$20 Changi Interchange voucher to exchange for any goods and services up to S$20 for free, and able to travel on a larger plane with personal IFE system powered by Panasonic eX2 system at the back of each seat.

    I believe passengers will appreciate this since this will be an improvement from pervious Virgin Australia B737-800 aircrafts. The excess B738s, if required can be redeployed onto routes such as PER-SIN, CNS-HKG etc. to boast profitability.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    7 Aug, 2015 02:31 pm

    Bali and Phuket really are the Ibiza and Benidorm of Australia....

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  • Mark Bringans

    Briggo

    7 Aug, 2015 03:36 pm

    Bali's the Benidorm aye

    very funny series too

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  • abudhabi1

    abudhabi1

    8 Aug, 2015 12:49 pm

    I agree.It got me thinking there are so many lovely spots which are safe and tropical in our own part of the world why not put some of the capacity there instead.The 737's not going to Bali can be used for say Cairns,Gold Coast or Hamilton Island services instead or going a little further afield even Vanuatu.

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  • henrus

    henrus

    7 Aug, 2015 03:26 pm

    I would like to see cheap Tigerair flights between NZ and AUS next!

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  • GgFlyer

    GgFlyer

    7 Aug, 2015 07:43 pm

    This time last year Qantas Passengers in Perth were outrdaged when regular international services were cut and people started switching to Virgin, now the exact reverse is happening

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  • Geoffrey Boyce

    geoffreyboyce

    8 Aug, 2015 07:50 pm

    I was recently asked the difference in having your appendix taken out pulically;and in a Ptivate Hospital

    My answer, if you fly from Brisbane to Sydney with discount airlines-you still get to Sydney.

    All in the eyes of the beholder.Chairman Mao's famous wit about the colour of cat's is relevant. Except Mao never flew cheap economy, or went to a public hospital.

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  • watson374

    watson374

    8 Aug, 2015 11:01 pm

    That line about the cat - "It matters not if the cat is white or black; as long as it kills mice, it is a good cat." - was by Deng Xiaoping.

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  • riley

    riley

    10 Aug, 2015 09:26 am

    I was curious about the range comments above. The A320 and 737 are very comparible. Looked at the VA inflight mag on the weekend and the max range difference between the A320s and 737s in the VA fleet is something like 70km. Given there's only 13 Tigerair A320s, I think the transfer of the VA 737s is more about fleet capacity. 

    Further, Jetstar have operated A320s on Melbourne to Bali.

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  • watson374

    watson374

    10 Aug, 2015 09:05 pm

    Jetstar already operates A320s on ADL-DPS, anyway.

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  • abudhabi1

    abudhabi1

    3 Sep, 2015 11:35 am

    Not a bad thing.I speak on behalf of Most South Australians Anyone here remember the bad old days of Garuda on the A300 OR THE DC10.It was around the time I was supposed to go to Bali in 1997 for Christmas as a belated School Leavers week they used the latter out of Adelaide.Between that and say going via Darwin with Qantas on a 737 I know which one I would have chosen.

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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    14 Aug, 2015 06:11 pm

    I was surprised by the Melbourne route being handed to tigerair. I thought they would've given the port headland-Denpasar flight to tiger. At least they kept the Brisbane and Sydney routes and didn't give all there routes to tiger.

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  • Dave

    Grannular

    17 Aug, 2015 09:08 am

    I don't think Tiger have any intra-WA flights. So they would need to either add the Perth - Port Healand route, or position a plane up there.

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17 Feb, 2019 05:21 pm

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