Virgin Australia has announced plans to operate twice-weekly between Perth and Canberra during Parliamentary sitting weeks, with the flights to operate on Thursdays and Sundays.
Flights for sitting weeks in August, September, October and December 2017 are now on sale, while flights for 2018 will go on sale once the 2018 Parliamentary sitting calendar is released, the airline said on Thursday.
On Thursdays and Sundays during sitting weeks in August and September Virgin Australia’s flight VA590 will depart Perth at 1235 and arrive at Canberra at 1825, with the return VA589 departing Canberra at 1900 and arriving in Perth at 2140.
On Sundays in sitting weeks in October and December VA590 will depart Perth at 1205 and arrive in Canberra at 1855, with the return VA589 departing Canberra at 1930 and arriving in Perth at 2110.
On Thursdays in sitting weeks in October and December VA590 will depart Perth at 1135 and arrive in Canberra at 1825, with the return VA589 departing Canberra at 1900 and arriving in Perth at 2040.
All flights will be operated by Boeing 737s.
Qantas already operates daily nonstop flights between Canberra and Perth using 737-800s.
The announcement was welcomed by Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron.
“This is great news for Canberrans and for the whole region as it will now offer a choice of carrier when flying to Perth,” Byron said.
“It should also lead to more competitive pricing on the route which will encourage more tourists to visit our city and its surrounds.”
Parliamentary sitting weeks are peak – and hence for airlines and Canberra’s hotels high-yielding – travelling periods as federal politicians, staffers, public servants and lobbyists travel to and from Canberra.