Richard Branson's Virgin Australia has announced the launch of international-grade service on its Airbus A330-Melbourne routes, to target the business sector traveler in Australia. The newly launched services include daily flights from Melbourne to Perth.
In addition, the airline will also expand its Airbus services, starting May 14, to include double-daily Melbourne to Perth return flights and an additional daily morning peak-hour return service between Melbourne and Sydney.
It is hoped that with the introduction of the 278-seat A330 on the Melbourne route, the airline will be able to offer better coverage between the areas.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, flights between the east and west coasts have become a battleground for Australia's two major carriers over the past year, as both Virgin and Qantas look to get the largest share of the business traveler market. As part of that struggle, Qantas introduced large 747 jets on the Melbourne-Perth route last year.
Virgin Australia's Boeing 737-800 carries around 180 passengers along the Melbourne-Perth route. The recently introduced A330, reportedly, has three times the number of business-class seats, compared to the 737. In addition, the seats are international-grade and, compared to the current domestic business-class seats, are designed to be more comfortable, offer greater leg room and more reclining space.