Virgin serves up Brisbane to Alice Springs route

Laine Fullerton

Alice Springs is the red heart of central Australia, and now it’s even easier to explore this desert land.

Virgin Australia announced yesterday it will commence services between Brisbane and Alice Springs from 19 June.

Qantas is currently the only airline to offer direct flights between the two cities, but this is limited to weekends only.

During the week, Qantas and Virgin offer connecting flights via Adelaide, Darwin, Sydney or Melbourne.

The new Virgin flights will operate on a twice-weekly return service on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Alliance Airlines.

On both days, flights will depart Brisbane at 10.15am and arrive in Alice Springs at 1.05pm.

The return leg will depart Alice Springs at 1.40pm and arrive back in Brisbane at 5.00pm.

Speaking at the Routes Asia 2018 conference in Brisbane, Virgin Australia Airlines group executive Rob Sharp said: “We are committed to connecting guests based in regional areas with Australia and the rest of the world.”

“These services will not only strengthen our domestic network offering and increase competition on this route, but they will also provide better connectivity to international destinations such as New Zealand,” he added.

With Qantas’ standard fare price set at $477 each way for direct flights on the weekend, customers can expect to save roughly $400 flying direct on weekdays with Virgin.

Northern Territory airports’ chief executive officer Ian Kew said: “These new services will not only provide guests with more choice, they will also play a key role in attracting more tourists to Alice Springs, which in turn will drive economic growth in our region.”

Alice Springs has been home to infamously high airfares, with the Senate currently conducting an inquiry into air services to regional communities including how airlines determine fare pricing in these areas.

This announcement comes six months after Virgin implemented additional flights between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin.