Virgin’s surprise ahead of Easter holiday
Virgin Australia has launched another push to reignite the travel sector by introducing two new direct flights and expanding flight frequencies over the Easter holidays.
New direct services from Adelaide to the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne to Ballina (Byron Bay) will initially operate across the holiday period, or between March 29 and April 25, with the expectation to extend the flights beyond the Easter period if borders remain open.
"The new direct services will add more than 13,000 seats across 37 return flights," the airline said in a statement.
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka is urging people to consider travelling again.
"We have all worked hard to get to a place where we can enjoy these travel opportunities once again, with the added benefit of supporting vital jobs in our tourism destinations," she said.
"Our flexible flying policy gives confidence for travellers planning ahead these Easter School holidays, and the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine adds to the positive momentum around us."
Cancellation and change fees will be waived if bookings are made for flights departing between April 30 and the end of January 2022.
Virgin's announcement comes just weeks after the Queensland Premier called on the Federal Government to extend JobKeeper for its struggling tourism sector.
"We really need the federal government to think about extending JobKeeper for these industries that are doing it tough," Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters at the time.
Her calls aligned with the announcement to reopen its border to Sydney just days later.
"There's about 10,000 businesses here in the tropical north that are on JobKeeper at the moment. That's going to have a huge impact on employment especially when JobKeeper ends at the end of March," she said.
"What we're asking for is a helping hand at this hour of need."
Interstate travellers generally inject billions into the Queensland economy each year and almost half comes from NSW residents.
In January treasurer Josh Frydenberg said there was "no intention to extend JobKeeper" and mocked Ms Palaszczuk's request as cheeky "to put it lightly".
Flight routes which will experience increased frequencies include:
• Brisbane - Cairns
• Sydney - Cairns
• Melbourne - Cairns
• Brisbane - Hamilton Island
• Brisbane - Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine)
• Sydney - Sunshine Coast
• Melbourne - Sunshine Coast
• Sydney - Gold Coast
• Melbourne - Gold Coast
• Adelaide - Gold Coast
• Canberra - Gold Coast
• Sydney - Ballina/Byron Bay
• Perth - Broome
• Perth - Kununurra
• Brisbane - Launceston
• Brisbane - Hobart
• Melbourne - Hobart
• Melbourne - Launceston
Originally published as Virgin's surprise ahead of Easter holiday