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Virgin expands eastern regional footprint with Link codeshare tie-up

written by Jake Nelson | January 18, 2024

A Link Airways Saab 340B+, VH-VEC, at Shellharbour Airport. (Image: Jake Nelson)

Virgin Australia has announced a new codeshare partnership with regional carrier Link Airways, in a significant challenge to Rex and QantasLink.

The agreement will see 17 new Link Airways regional services, equivalent to around 90 services per week, join Virgin Australia’s regional network – a significant expansion for Virgin in the eastern states, which are largely untouched by the Perth-based Virgin Australia Regional Airlines.

It means Virgin Australia passengers will now be able to book seamless travel to regional destinations such as Coffs Harbour and Armidale, while Link Airways passengers can now more easily connect to onward travel through Virgin’s domestic network.

“Link Airways is very pleased to join Virgin Australia in announcing this codeshare agreement which will provide significant additional travel opportunities to passengers Australia-wide, particularly those in regional areas,” said Link Airways CEO Andrew Major.

“Benefits will include better connectivity and more choice for regional customers thanks to Virgin Australia’s expansive route network.”

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Link Airways is already in a close relationship with Virgin: Link customers can earn Velocity Frequent Flyer points in eligible fare classes, and the regional carrier began operating wet-leased Sydney–Canberra services for Virgin in 2022. Velocity Frequent Flyer also partners with another regional airline, FlyPelican, which mainly serves NSW.

Virgin Australia’s chief strategy and transformation officer, Alistair Hartley, said the new Link Airways codeshare deal is part of Virgin’s commitment to boosting connections for regional customers.

“Importantly, the partnership is also set to support regional trade and tourism in destinations like Inverell, Wollongong and Biloela, which are not currently serviced by any other major airline,” Hartley said.

“Together, our networks will be operating up to 365 daily flights across Australia, offering 42 domestic destinations for guests to explore, all while ensuring guests can enjoy seamless connectivity and loyalty benefits under our award-winning Velocity Frequent Flyer program when they travel.”

The routes covered by Virgin and Link’s new codeshare partnership include:

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Comments (2)

  • It will be interesting to see if this improves the viability of Melbourne Wollongong (MEL-WOL) and Brisbane Wollongong (BNE-WOL) which currently suffers from low frequency.

  • Welcome news, yes! BUT, it was a major error of judgement for VOZ read Bain to divest their Eastern Oz regional market completely when they came to run the enterprise. It was a money decision without any care or concern for the masses adversely effected. Recovery, yes, it may take years, people don’t forget.

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