Virgin Australia will increase its number of services between Brisbane and Newcastle from February 21, 2016, adding almost 20,000 extra seats a year on the route and offering a revised schedule to support passenger needs on the route.
The airline will introduce an additional two weekly flights, growing its offering to 21 return services per week. However, notably the two services will result in a Virgin Australia Embraer 190 night-stopping in Newcastle for two nights each week and the introduction of a later evening departure from Brisbane and new early morning flight from Newcastle.
“Virgin Australia’s announcement that they will start overnighting aircraft at our port is huge news for us,” said Dr Peter Cock, Chief Executive Officer, Newcastle Airport. “This is a strong commitment by Virgin Australia to our port and our region.”
Newcastle Airport has been working closely with Virgin Australia in the past six months to establish the additional services and provide additional connection opportunities from the local market. The new morning services provide new one-stop connectivity to destinations including Fiji, Port Moresby, Port Vila and Queenstown and also increased connectivity to Christchurch, Denpasar (Bali), Los Angeles and Wellington.
“These new Virgin Australia services between Newcastle and Brisbane have been timed to suit corporate travellers,” said Judith Crompton, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Australia.
Having first started serving this route under its Virgin Blue Airlines guise, Virgin Australia currently operates alongside national carrier Qantas and its low-cost operation Jetstar Airways on the city pair, the latter already offering a late night departure from Brisbane. According to MIDT data, more than 1,500 passengers a day are currently flying between Brisbane and Newcastle.
This is expected to be the first of a number of route announcements from Newcastle Airport this year as it seeks to take advantage of its new terminal building to develop new international air links. Research from the airport shows that it has significant leakage to Sydney and in many cases the leakage is enough to sustain a direct service from Newcastle to the destinations.
The airport has recently appointed Matthew Findlay to the role of Executive Manager Commercial and Aviation Business Development. The former Christchurch International Airport executive has almost two decades of aviation experience in New Zealand and the UK with significant route development knowledge.
“Newcastle Airport presents such an exciting opportunity,” explained Findlay. “The recent terminal expansion has set the airport in good stead, and I really believe that this airport is on the cusp of something great.”