By Ian Neubauer
Virgin Blue has increased flights between Sydney and Auckland to reinforce its presence in the Pacific in the lead up to the launch of trans-Pacific flights to Los Angeles, an analyst said.
“They struggle to make money in New Zealand but they see it as a part of a long-term plan to be able to link in with the US services,” Shaw Stockbroking analyst, Brent Mitchell, told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Virgin’s New Zealand-centric Pacific Blue subsidiary will have nine weekly return services between Sydney and Auckland commencing in October, representing an additional 169,000 seats for the route each year. A new Melbourne-Auckland daily service that was announced last month will add 131,000 seats to the subsidiary’s annual capacity.
Virgin Blue’s nascent trans-Pacific subsidiary, V Australia, is scheduled to commence operating on December 15 with ten return flights weekly.