Virgin delays flights to Fiji, Indonesia by at least three months as international borders delayed
Virgin delays flights to Fiji, Indonesia by at least three months as international borders delayed

Virgin‘s massive change to travel

More bad news has dropped for Australians wanting to travel overseas with Virgin Australia announcing it will push back short-haul flights until at least December.

The airline had planned to start flying to countries such as Fiji and Indonesia from September.

The delay is due to the Federal Budget revealing international borders would not reopen until at least mid-2022 as a result of the slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Virgin said it would continue with its planned resumption of some flights to New Zealand from September as trans-Tasman bubble is now open.

Other countries in the region, such as Vanuatu, have also been delayed.

"Continued efforts by state and federal governments to refine trans-Tasman travel arrangements will however allow the airline to operate Boeing 737 services between Sydney-Queenstown and Brisbane-Queenstown, as planned from September 18, 2021, and Melbourne-Queenstown services from December 7, 2021," a Virgin Australia spokesperson said.

"Because current demand for other New Zealand destinations (other than Queenstown) remains subdued, Virgin Australia will defer them from sale alongside services to Vanuatu, Samoa and the Solomon Islands for the time being."

It comes after rival airline Qantas also pushed back its start date for international flights.

Qantas has been forced to move back its planned resumption of international passenger operations from the end of October to the end of December.

The decision is in light of the federal government delaying the anticipated time frame for completion of the vaccine rollout to the end of the year and international borders not fully reopening until mid-2022.

"We remain optimistic that additional bubbles will open once Australia's vaccine rollout is complete to countries who, by then, are in a similar position, but it's difficult to predict which ones at this stage," a Qantas spokeswoman said.

More to come.

Originally published as Virgin's massive change to travel