Virgin Australia has confirmed it will increase direct services between Perth and the Pilbara town of Karratha in Western Australia as a result of strong demand from the mining and resources industry. From July 1, 2013, three weekly return services will be added on the route, flown on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings using a 98-seat Embraer 190 jet aircraft.
“Karratha is one of the fastest growing mining towns in Australia and these new flights from Perth are being added in response to strong demand. We have listened to our customers and they were asking for additional frequencies, particularly in the morning peaks,” said Merren McArthur, Regional Airlines Group Executive, Virgin Australia
“Karratha is one of the fastest growing mining towns in Australia and these new flights from Perth are being added in response to strong demand. We have listened to our customers and they were asking for additional frequencies, particularly in the morning peaks.”Merren McArthur
Regional Airlines Group Executive, Virgin Australia
With these additional services Virgin Australia will offer 34 flights per week between Perth and Karratha. The expansion is part of Virgin Australia’s regional growth strategy, building on its recent acquisition of Skywest Airlines. The newly enhanced regional operation currently has 32 aircraft operating over 800 services per week to 41 different destinations.
“Following the recent integration of Skywest Airlines into the Virgin Australia Group, we now have a strong West Australian base and focus which enables us to quickly identify and respond to growth opportunities in the region, particularly in the high-growth fly-in-fly-out markets. We will continue to review market demand and look forward to growing our regional services right across Australia”, McArthur added.
In 2012 an estimated 739,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled between Perth and Karratha, up 25.9 per cent on the previous year. Virgin Australia currently utilises a mix of Boeing 737-800s and E190s on the route but faces strong competition from Qantas which currently offers a average of eight flights a day using its own 737-800s and 717-200s of its partner carrier Cobham Aviation Services Australia under the QantasLink brand.
Virgin Australia has also confirmed that from October this year, it will operate Airbus A330 widebodied aircraft on all Perth - Sydney weekday flights. This schedule change will be made possible by the arrival of a seventh A330 and will mean all Perth - Sydney and Perth - Melbourne weekday services and two out of three Perth - Brisbane weekday services will be flown by the type.
Over the past couple of years, Virgin Australia has completely transformed its offering in Western Australia, including expanding its network and frequencies, and enhancing its in-flight service, lounge and terminal facilities. It now offers 76 codeshare destinations from Perth, with one-stop services to 14 destinations in Europe, as well as the widest scheduled passenger network in the state of Western Australia, flying to more destinations than any other airline.
“We have had an extremely positive response to the introduction of our Airbus A330 “Coast To Coast” service and we are very pleased to now be offering this on all Perth-Sydney and Perth-Melbourne weekday flights,” said Judith Crompton, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Australia. “These significant enhancements, together with the launch of our new state-of-the-art domestic pier at Perth Airport next year, will see Virgin Australia lift the standard of air travel in Western Australia to the next level.”