Virgin Australia has announced that its ATR regional operation will begin flying in October, with the new 68-seat turboprops to operate additional frequencies on the Sydney-Canberra route, plus new Brisbane-Gladstone and Brisbane-Port Macquarie flights, and replace E-170s on the Sydney-Port Macquarie route.
With the ATRs’ introduction into service Virgin Australia plans to operate between Sydney and Canberra 60 times per week, while they will also operate double-dailies Brisbane-Gladstone and Sydney-Port Macquarie, and a daily Brisbane-Port Macquarie service.
The Brisbane-Gladstone service is a new route for Virgin Australia and will compete with QantasLink and Strategic Airlines, while where the Sydney-Port Macquarie service will also compete with QantasLink Dash 8s, no other airline currently operates between Port Macquarie and Brisbane.
Virgin says its first two ATRs will be named Mission Beach and Four-Mile Beach after the far north Queensland beaches of those names. An image of one of the airline’s first ATRs – which will be operated on its behalf by Skywest – can be seen here.