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Virgin shuts down 2 Adelaide routes for 5 months

written by Jake Nelson | July 4, 2023

Craig Murray shot this Virgin 737, VH-VUQ.

Virgin Australia is suspending direct flights between Adelaide and Darwin, and Adelaide and Cairns, from October.

The carrier confirmed that the two routes are being shut down for five months following a performance review, which considered demand and forward bookings among other factors. This will allow Virgin to reallocate the aircraft and resources from these routes to services in higher demand.

Virgin says it is currently using all available aircraft across its network, with as many seats in the air “as is reasonably possible” to meet its current demand.

“We plan to resume our services from March 2024, in line with increased seasonal demand. We acknowledge this decision will be disappointing for some guests and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience,” a spokesperson said.

“We are taking proactive steps to minimise the impact to passengers who have already made a booking on this route during this time. Guests booked to travel from 8 October onwards will be directly contacted by Virgin Australia or their travel provider to provide alternative arrangements. Where an alternative is not suitable, guests will be offered a full refund.”


The Adelaide-Cairns route is also serviced by two Qantas Group airlines – QantasLink and Jetstar – while Adelaide-Darwin is serviced by QantasLink, Jetstar, and Qantas itself.

Virgin was forced to offload a significant portion of its fleet, including its Boeing 777s, ATR turboprops, Airbus A330s, and Tiger Airways A320s, during its administration and restructuring process. Virgin now operates a mostly 737-based fleet, including 75 737-800s and a few 737-700s, as well as a handful of Airbus A320-200s and Fokker 100s.

The carrier late last month took delivery of its first 737 MAX 8 after long delays. VH-8IA, nicknamed “Monkey Mia”, is earmarked for the airline’s route from Cairns to Tokyo (Haneda), and will go into service on flights to Japan after a short time flying domestically to familiarise crews and gain regulatory approval. The airline has a further seven MAX 8 and 25 MAX 10 aircraft on order.

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