Virgin Australia Resumes LA-Melbourne Flights After 2+ Years
4th Apr 2017
The Virgin Australia Melbourne Tullamarine long-haul base is back in business and so is the VA's Los Angeles-Melbourne service, much to the delight of its passengers.
The Australian carrier flew a Boeing 777-300ER VH-VPF, flight number VA23 between Melbourne and Los Angeles for the first time since it dropped the route back in October, 2014. The flight took off from Tullamarine Airport this Tuesday at 11:45, local time and should arrive at the Los Angeles Airport about 14 hours later.
This was a much anticipated decision by Virgin Australia, ever since it announced a shakeup of its long-haul network in September last year, including a five time weekly service between Melbourne and Los Angeles.
This, however, most likely means that the carrier will be forced to reduce another route to Los Angeles, the one from Brisbane, from a daily service to six times per week. Virgin Australia's decision to drop Melbourne-Los Angeles route and increase the number of flights on Brisbane-Los Angeles was in large part influenced by the arrival of another competitor on the first route ? United.
Together with its JV partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin Australia now offers 25 flights per week between Australia and Los Angeles.
Virgin Australia Group Executives for Airlines John Thomas said:
We are delighted to commence services between Melbourne and Los Angeles today, bringing the Virgin Australia flair and sophistication to this route.
As for the Brisbane-Los Angeles, this service will experience some schedule changes, other than the aforementioned reduction in weekly flight numbers. Namely, Virgin's planes will now depart from Brisbane in the evening and will take off from Los Angeles in the morning.
This change, as well as dropping the three time weekly service from Sydney to Abu Dhabi in February, was necessary to free up enough Boeing 777-300ERs to fly between Melbourne and Los Angeles.
This isn't the only long-haul service Virgin is planning. From 5th July, the Australian carrier will start non-stop flights from Melbourne to Hong Kong in partnership with HNA Group, using Airbus A330-200s.
Apart from Virgin Australia, Qantas and United are also offering non-stop flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles.