LONDON – Virgin Australia has seen a boom in domestic ticket sales in 72 hours following a federal government stimulus to provide 260,000 half-priced airfares for Virgin’s customers.
The stimulus is part of a $1.2 Billion Australian Dollar support package that the government has set up to reignite the country’s aviation and tourism industry as the country begins to recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19, with prices for flights from Sydney to the Gold Coast will now costing as little as $60 with normal prices sitting at £119 per ticket.
The seats will be discounted by 50 per cent off Virgin Australia’s February lead-in price of tickets and will be on sale for an initial twenty-four-week period between April 1 – July 31 2021 for travel from mid-April to September 30 2021.
There does however remain doubts over the success of this program with covid cases rising again in Brisbane, despite these concerns Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said: “despite the current border challenges, the news of half-priced airfares will give regions a sense of hope and deliver a much-needed boost for thousands of tourism businesses who are still doing it tough.”
Ms. Hrdlicka continued: “While there are short-term constraints around traveling to some destinations at the moment, the good news is that our half-price tickets can be used for travel up to the end of September. To ensure maximum flexibility under the program, we’re also extending our flexible flying policy for all half-priced fare bookings. This is designed to ensure everyone can book with confidence knowing they’ll definitely be able to make use of these great value tickets,”
“These half-priced fares will support jobs and the nation’s economic recovery over the next six months. There’s never been a better time to plan and get on with travelling around Australia.”
Virgin Australia is making the following regional seats available under the Tourism and Aviation Network Support Program:
- Gold Coast – more than 85,000 seats
- Adelaide – more than 85,000 seats
- Cairns – more than 10,000 seats
- Sunshine Coast – more than 15,000 seats
- Alice Springs – more than 1,250 seats
- Whitsundays – more than 4,500 seats
- Launceston – more than 19,000 seats
- Hobart – more than 20,000 seats
- Darwin – more than 11,000 seats
To ensure all customers have peace of mind, the airline also confirmed it would be extending its flexible flying policy to enable customers who book travel under the program the ability to change or cancel their booking without incurring additional costs.
Virgin Australia said it would in addition to all of this be rewarding loyal Platinum and Gold Velocity members who have booked in traveled between December 7, 2020, and March 28 2021, with an extension of up to 18 months of their current membership status.
With this extension, it will allow them all full access to all of the benefits of being a frequent flyer including complimentary Lounge access, priority boarding, preferential seating, a higher checked baggage allowance, and lucrative bonus points.
When asked about the extension on the program, Ms. Hrdlicka said: “We also recognize that loyalty works both ways, and for many of our Gold and Platinum Velocity members, it’s been difficult for them to keep their status. That’s why we’re offering a status extension of up to 18 months alongside a number of generous rewards when they next choose to fly with us.”
This news will surely now catch the attention of other countries around the world as vaccinations continue and recovery begins, has Virgin Atlantic shown us that this is the only way to reignite that consumer confidence which has been lost by so many, or other solutions required to help the global Aviation market recover?
For now, it seems Virgin Australia’s model is having the desired effect for helping their domestic network recover.