Virgin Australia has revealed this week that its widebody Airbus A330-200 fleet will make its international debut on its flights to Fiji during peak demand periods between April and October this year. The aircraft will serve the Sydney-Nadi city pair during specific periods, in response to increased demand.
The A330-200 has been operated by Virgin Australia since 2010 but is currently exclusively used on domestic routings within Australia. The aircraft will now serve the Sydney – Nadi route on Saturdays only between April 4, 2015 and April 18, 2015; between June 20, 2015 and October 24, 2015 and select days during the Christmas and New Year period.
“This announcement is part of our strategy to ensure we have a flexible and responsive fleet supporting future customer demand and broader network priorities,” said Judith Crompton, chief commercial officer, Virgin Australia.
The use of the 279-seat aircraft will boost its offering in both its premium and Economy cabins. With a 240-seat business class cabin on the A330-200 with lie-flat seats, Virgin Australia will triple the number of premium class seats normally available on the route. This, it said, will meet the sustained increase in demand for premium product and services on flights to Fiji.
“Our A330 aircraft have set new standards of comfort on trans-continental routes and we are now able to bring this service and comfort to the Sydney – Nadi route. Fiji will be our first international A330 destination since acquiring the aircraft in 2010,” added Crompton.
Alongside the international deployment the A330 will also be introduced between Sydney and Melbourne during select morning weekday peak periods as well as during international sporting events where there are peaks in demand during short periods.
Virgin Australia operates up to 22 flights per week between Nadi, Fiji and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. An estimated 780,000 passengers flew between Australia and Fiji in 2014, up 2.6 per cent on the previous year. In 2014, Virgin Australia had a 35.4 per cent share of the demand in this market, down from 36.3 per cent the previous year. Fiji Airways is the market leader with a 56.2 per cent share of the segment demand.