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First Virgin flight to Bali takes off after 2 years, via Darwin

written by Hannah Dowling | June 16, 2022

A Virgin 737-7FE, VH-VBY, as shot by Victor Pody

The first Virgin Australia flight between Australia and Bali has taken off on Wednesday for the first time in over two years.

Flight VA63, operated by a Boeing 737-800, registration VH-YIO, took off from Sydney at 5:34pm.

The flight somewhat unusually travelled on to Darwin for a quick layover, landing there just after 9pm.

VA63 continued on from Darwin to Denpasar around an hour later, landing in Bali just before 11pm local time.

Australian Aviation understands that the short stopover in Darwin is due to ongoing maintenance and changed operating hours at airports in the region, requiring jets to carry more fuel in case there is a need to divert from Denpasar.

As such, Virgin’s 737s must either stop to top up on fuel, or cancel the tickets of some passengers who pre-booked onto these flights.

Passengers will not be required to disembark during the stop, with the layover expected to add one hour to the total travel time. Virgin will be moving flight departure times forward to ensure passengers arrive in Bali on time as planned.

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It appears to be a temporary issue, however it is not clear how long flights will require this additional fuel. Virgin is working with local authorities on a solution.

Wednesday’s flight marks Virgin’s first flight to Bali since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the airline’s emergence from voluntary administration.

When entering administration, the future of Virgin’s international network was uncertain, however the airline ultimately emerged from administration as a leaner mid-tier airline, which remained committed to its short-haul international network, including Fiji, Bali, and New Zealand.

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It comes after the Indonesian government last month eased entry requirements, eliminating the need to present a negative PCR result prior to travel.

Since Bali reopened its borders to visa-waiver tourists in March, its government has been criticised for its high number of entry requirements exceeding that of other holiday destinations.

Virgin’s services from Melbourne and Brisbane to Denpasar are scheduled to take off on Friday and will also require a short stop in Darwin.

Earlier this week, Virgin announced the launch of a brand new direct flight between the Gold Coast and Bali. This will be the first time that any carrier has performed a direct flight connecting the two popular surf destinations.

Virgin revealed on Tuesday that it will begin a brand-new route connecting the Gold Coast and Bali from 29 March 2023, ahead of Bali’s dry season and Australia’s winter.

Baggage-free fares will begin from $399 one-way and are set to go on sale on Tuesday, Virgin said, with over 2,200 seats on offer per week.

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the new Gold Coast to Bali service reflected increasing demand for services to and from the popular Gold Coast Airport.

“We are currently seeing continued growth in travel demand for Gold Coast services and are operating up to 180 domestic flights outbound each week,” Hrdlicka said.

Notably, Gold Coast Airport was the first major airport to recover to post-COVID levels of passenger traffic, highlighting the strength of the Queensland aerodrome.

“In May alone, our Gold Coast bookings were up 55 per cent compared to 2019, with bookings on our existing Bali flights up 48 per cent for the same period and growing every week,” Hrdlicka said.

“With the addition of the Gold Coast Airport terminal expansion and demand for Bali rising, the time is right to connect these two famous holiday destinations as well as the surf breaks, wellness activities and nightlife that comes with them.”

Comment (1)

  • Drew

    says:

    Are the Jetstar A320 flights from ADL to DPS stopping anywhere on the way to DPS? They are also fuel limited on these flights without the close by alternates available. Or, are they hoping they don’t have to divert and going non-stop?

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