Spirit of Place: Virgin Australia Takes Flight to Uluru

A Virgin Australia crewmember at Uluru
Photo Credit: Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia marks a new chapter in Australian travel with the launch of direct flights between Melbourne and Uluru. This will be the first time the airline visits Australia’s iconic Red Centre landmark.

The inaugural Brisbane-Uluru service, will significantly boost tourism opportunities in the region.

The airline established the services in collaboration with the Northern Territory Government and Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia. These will add a substantial 62,000 seats to the Red Centre annually.

This increased accessibility is expected to fuel the growth of the Indigenous tourism sector. This is a significant contributor to Australia’s national visitor economy, generating nearly $6 billion annually.

Notably, Ayers Rock Resort, managed by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, already boasts over 30% of its workforce identifying as Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander. This makes it a leader in Indigenous employment within the Australian tourism industry.

Spirit of Place: Uluru

Virgin Australia’s Uluru services offer a convenient gateway for travellers from Victoria and Queensland.

Additionally, codeshare partnerships are in place with major airlines. Associations with Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines will connect Uluru to over 600 cities worldwide.

This seamless travel experience allows international tourists to explore Australia’s Red Centre with ease using a single ticket.

Virgin Australia will operate the Uluru flights using Boeing 737 aircraft, with up to 182 seats per flight. Cabin configuration offers a choice of Business Class, Economy X (extra legroom), and Economy seating.

To celebrate the launch, a special departure gate party will be held at Melbourne Airport for the sold-out inaugural flight.

Celebrity Guests and First Nations Artists

Australian World Music Star and renowned First Nations entertainer, Mitch Tambo, will perform alongside First Nations DJ, SVVLO.

This will take place at a special departure gate party the airline will hold at Melbourne Airport. Altogether, 182 guests will be travelling on the sold-out maiden flight.

VA1681, will depart Melbourne at 12:30pm, landing in Uluru at 3:40pm local time, for a welcome event at the Ayers Rock Resort’s famous Wintjiri Wiru platform. 

Headlining entertainment at the event will be Platinum-selling ARIA award-winning singer, Budjerah. He will surprise guests with a performance of his aptly named hit song ‘Ready For The Sky’.

Business, sporting, lifestyle and fashion personalities will also join the first flight from Melbourne. Names include Rebecca Judd, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Jett Kenny, Michelle Bridges and more.

Industry Leaders Celebrate the Launch

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka expressed her enthusiasm for this momentous occasion. “Uluru is a cornerstone cultural landmark and a beloved holiday destination,” Ms. Hrdlicka stated.

“We are proud to connect Australians to Uluru and offer more value and choices to travellers. This relaunch is fantastic news for our staff, tourism partners, guests, and Velocity members who can now earn and redeem points on these services.”

The launch was also met with positive responses from industry leaders. Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia CEO Matt Cameron-Smith highlighted the significance of the event.

Meanwhile, NT Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Joel Bowden extended a warm welcome to Virgin Australia and its passengers.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus emphasized the new service’s role in expanding travel options for exploring Australia’s vast interior.

Virgin Australia’s Uluru flights take off just as the Northern Territory’s peak tourism season begins, offering a timely opportunity for travellers to discover the wonders of Australia’s Red Centre.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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