Extra Virgin Fokkers will serve Newcastle-Brisbane route
Virgin Australia has moved to cut costs and fuel consumption by using extra leased Fokker F100 jets on the Newcastle-Brisbane route and extending its leased ATR 72 flights in regional Queensland
In moves that are straight from the Qantas regional services play book, Virgin Australia is increasing its use of leased Alliance Airways Fokker F100 on the Brisbane-Newcastle run and adding more leased Skywest ATR 72 turboprops on secondary Queensland routes.
The services will be in aircraft painted in the Virgin Australia livery, and in the case of the Alliance F100s, the Queensland charter and fly in-fly out mining industry operator also operates some F100 services for Qantaslink.
The F100 is a five abreast Dutch airliner that went out of production in the ’90s and is a stretch of the Fokker F-28 which was seen in Australian service in the 80s and 90s for Ansett and its subsidiaries Airlines of NSW, and Airlines NT, and East-West after its purchase by the Ansett group.
The additional ATR services between Brisbane and Emerald kick in from 29 October, and on the Brisbane-Rockhampton run from 12 November. The Emerald flights last almost two hours, but the Qantaslink record for long endurance turbo-prop flights remain unchallenged with its recent announcement of the epic Sydney-Gladstone services and the almost as heroic Canberra-Adelaide turbo-prop flights, which will be carried out by Bombardier Q400s.
The new F100 flights between Newcastle and Brisbane start on 12 November, and will increase Virgin Australia’s services on that route from two to three a day from Mondays through Fridays. The jets are configured with 100 economy seats, and while the cushion size is nearly equal to that on 737s, there is uniformly slightly better seat pitch than on Virgin Australia’s 737s, where several rows are notably tighter than the rest.