Virgin Australia is promising cheaper, quicker flights between Tasmania and Western Australia when it links Hobart and Perth from September 17.
The three times weekly service operated by Boeing 737 aircraft recognizes Tasmania’s growing popularity as a tourism destination as well as the lure for Tasmanians of Western Australia’s café and beach culture.
The new service will provide almost 55,000 seats between the two state capitals, creating what Virgin Australia general manager network, revenue and alliances Russell Shaw described as “an important connection between two unique capital cities”.
Operating, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it will save at least an hour of travel and means passengers can avoid connecting through Melbourne. Fares start from $A269 one-way.
“Virgin Australia is proud to deliver a faster, more convenient and affordable way to travel between Hobart and Perth,” Shaw said.
Virgin has increased capacity to Tasmania by up to 24 percent.
It recently added two return services per week to Hobart from Brisbane and two from Sydney. It also added a seasonal Brisbane-Launceston return service.
Tasmanian officials welcomed the tourism benefits of the new Perth route.
“The Tasmanian Government warmly welcomes this new service which will increase the opportunity for people to experience Tasmania’s unrivaled natural environment, world-class produce and events,” Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said.
Virgin also this week started daily flights from Sydney to Hong Kong and announced it would return its Melbourne-Hong Kong service to a daily footing.
Both services use Airbus A330 aircraft and the move means there will less of the popular A330 product on Australian trans-continental routes.
This is a blow to travelers that Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti has indicated would be softened by the introduction of a new business class on the less popular Boeing 737s.
However, the airline has yet to release details or timing for the new 737 product.