View Full Version : Virgin Blue gets the Cocos & Christmas Is. routes

23rd Dec 2009, 19:13

23 December 2009
The Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, has announced a new service provider to conduct regular flights between Perth and Christmas and Cocos Keeling Islands.
Virgin Blue will commence services from Thursday 1 April 2010 with twice weekly flights to Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island and an additional third weekly flight to Christmas Island only which will be reassessed after six months, subject to demand.
Virgin will be flying a modern Embraer E190 aircraft which will provide increased passenger and freight capacity. The contract will result in better passenger fares and direct and faster flights which will reduce the overall flying time to and from the mainland.
“I am pleased that Australia’s second largest airline will provide air services to these remote communities, and excited by the potential tourism benefits that this contract could bring to the Island’s economy,” Mr O’Connor said.
“The Australian Government will continue to underwrite these services to ensure that it meets its community service obligations by maintaining a link between the mainland and the Islands.”
Mr O’Connor thanked the existing provider Cobham Aviation for its service to the Islands over the past decade.

This was predicted some months ago on Pprune. (can't find the post atm)


23rd Dec 2009, 20:26
good to see - just hope DJ puts on the additional CC member. Doing that long overwater flight with just 3 CC crew is not ideal.

Take it the duty will be a return?

23rd Dec 2009, 22:58
Why? If that's what the aircraft is designed for what's the problem?

drop bear ten
24th Dec 2009, 03:17
Best wishes for the contract-just make sure you have a spare engine at XMX for the birdstrikes.

24th Dec 2009, 04:58
Airtags, have heard there isn't much accomodation available on Christmas no matter how you get there!:ok:

24th Dec 2009, 06:31
The E190 only has 3 cabin crew seats - crewing them with 3 never really was an issue.

4 crew on the 800 however - that needs to be 5.

sleeve of wizard
24th Dec 2009, 07:20
I'm interested how they will plan these flights, will it be direct if so what ETOPS does vb have for the ejet? what will be used as etops pairs? will they be planning to use isolated reserves or use Jakarta as an alternate?:confused:

24th Dec 2009, 08:00
The E190 in VB config has 4 cabin crew seats

24th Dec 2009, 10:43
G.T. got it wrong, Lorenzo got it wrong who can you trust for a good solid rumour ! Merry Xmas Windy :confused:

24th Dec 2009, 12:56
sleeve of wizard,

I dont know the E-Jet, but I would hazard a guess and say they would likely go over Canarvon before heading over to Christmas. Holding CAR then PLM before being in range of CHX.

24th Dec 2009, 16:27
Great news for me 13 hours duty and the wiz wheel out for most of it. Hope it works for VB but I will doubt it. Not much return even with the $$$ subsidy.

Dog One
24th Dec 2009, 20:27
Required to carry mainland alternate, which means Jakarta and usually plus 60 as well.

mates rates
24th Dec 2009, 22:21
VB now have EDTO approval for the EJ190 as they are running it accross the Tasman.Don't know about the range of the aircraft though !!

3 Holer
25th Dec 2009, 04:38
Great news for me 13 hours duty and the wiz wheel out for most of it.

Must have been doing it in a Bae146. :E

25th Dec 2009, 05:28
VB now have EDTO approval for the EJ190 as they are running it accross the Tasman


What runs are the E190 doing across the ditch ??

How did they get around the APU for the EDTO..

Would like to know your sources - as i only thought the 737 was running across the ditch .....

I hope you are not talking about tassie as in "across the tasman" :rolleyes:

25th Dec 2009, 11:20
Incorrect information.

The only ditch they're crossing is the one inbetween Tassie and the big island north of it.

26th Dec 2009, 08:22
As far as I am aware the e-jet comes out of the factory with 90 mins. VB are only use 60 mins at moment but may wish to fill out the paper work and get the extra time. The e-jet any way you look at it is going to be better than the RJ with a tech stop.

VBA Engineer
26th Dec 2009, 08:33
E190 is out of the factory with 120 minutes: Skycontrol.net: Embraer 190 Jet receives 120-minute ETOPS approval: Aircraft is the first in the world to meet the new FAA certification requirements (http://www.skycontrol.net/business-general-aviation/embraer-190-jet-receives-120-minute-etops-approval-aircraft-is-the-first-in-the-world-to-meet-the-new-faa-certification-requirements/)

VB have no EDTO approval for the E-jets yet, only the 737NG at the moment.

29th Dec 2009, 00:40
Can the E-Jet do Perth-Cocos direct (around 1600nm) with the winter westerlies?

30th Dec 2009, 10:17
Can the E-Jet do Perth-Cocos direct (around 1600nm) with the winter westerlies?

Easily. The range of the model of E190 VB operate is the 190IGW - 100AR. Despite what most people think, the range is quoted as being 2402nm with reserves.

30th Dec 2009, 10:19
Then a good decision from our friends at the Commonwealth, who so astutely awarded this contract last time to an insolvent airline aka SAW...

Mr. Hat
31st Dec 2009, 05:21
Hmm wonder what they've got their eye on next..

31st Dec 2009, 07:18
Perth-Kalgoorlie is next...

Mr. Hat
31st Dec 2009, 08:09
I assume thats QF cash cow country..?

31st Dec 2009, 18:13
yes, but so are Newman, Karratha and Hedland....

19th Jan 2010, 05:31
Latest from the village. :ok:

Tuesday 19 January 2010: Virgin Blue will celebrate ‘Christmas in April’ this year as the airline confirms its intention to commence non-stop services between Perth and Christmas and Cocos (Keeling Islands) with fares from as little as $464* one-way on the net.

The three weekly flights to Christmas Island are set for take-off on Thursday 1 April 2010 (no joke!) with services between Perth and Cocos Island commencing shortly after on Saturday 3 April. Flights between Cocos Island and Christmas Island will also commence on 3 April.

Virgin Blue has committed one of its executive-style Embraer E-190 jets onto the new routes, an aircraft which has the capacity to carry 104 Guests on each sector, upload more freight and reduce the overall flying time to and from the mainland.

Virgin Blue Airlines Group Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said Virgin Blue was pleased to have been awarded the contract to provide services to Christmas and the Cocos Island, boosting its domestic network to 30 Australian destinations.

“The secret is finally out! Being literally only a few hours from Perth, Christmas and Cocos Islands are hands down two of the best, unspoilt and truly unique island holiday destinations our region has to offer. As with other markets we’ve entered we’re confident our new services will further stimulate tourism to these most remarkable jewels in the Indian Ocean and also help to strengthen relations with the mainland.

“It’s also great news for the people of Perth, who now have the option to fly domestically or internationally non-stop to 13 unique destinations on the Virgin Blue Airlines Group network,” he added.


19th Jan 2010, 05:42
737FE, is that paint dry on the 777LR tail yet !!!!!!!!

19th Jan 2010, 05:55
It was the rudder, but yes the paint is dry, should be shipped in the next week or so. :)


Mr. Hat
19th Jan 2010, 06:05
apparently sime mining work possibly on the cards as well...

the boom is back..

19th Jan 2010, 07:17
So what I miss? Why so expensive to fly there..:ooh: I know nothing about the west.

Goat Whisperer
19th Jan 2010, 11:31
...and how would a 777-200LR rudder look any different from a -300ER rudder... or any other 777 rudder for that matter?

19th Jan 2010, 13:02
back on topic I think it's a great pity the fares aren't more affordable...

22nd Jan 2010, 01:23
VB may already be regretting their decision to bid for this contract. I would not expect the fare to drop anytime soon.

Goat Whisperer
22nd Jan 2010, 02:14
VB is paid for the flight even if no-one's on it, and that will be a rare occurrence for the next little while. Why should they regret it?

Might be getting a little short of E Jet drivers, but they could run a line of Perth flying on the 737 if needed. PHE for instance.

22nd Jan 2010, 06:41
Agree with you goat... why would DJ regret getting a contract that the Govt basically guarantees? Also the population has exploded on Xmas island... and with Mr Popularity AKA the Kruddler at the helm Xmas looks like being the next big city in Australia.

22nd Jan 2010, 08:23
I think more 737 flying for intra-WA routes will be on the cards in 2010 for KTA etc.

Dog One
22nd Jan 2010, 09:19
With the detention centre full, the Government must be bringing off arrivals to detention centres in Darwin and Port Hedland. Heard Topend on HF taxying for Darwin last week. Its a pretty small island, and soon the authorities will run out of space to expand, so there should be plenty of charter work off the island to Australia. DJ should be able to pick up extra flights as well as any other jet operator.

22nd Jan 2010, 13:33
VB may already be regretting their decision to bid for this contract.


25th Jan 2010, 10:00
Because half the island population is not at liberty to come and go as they please. Freight/food will be more important to the assisting trades and professions of the detention centre. Holiday makers will find it difficult to book accommodation which is already filled by workers. Still, it is a wonderful place, and a pity it won't be seen by more people.

6th Apr 2010, 11:50
So any word on how this is going for VB? How do the boys and girls enjoy the round trip?

There was discussion about range earlier, what sort of figures are they making on the direct CC or direct XM legs?

7th Apr 2010, 05:11
Early days as the flight(s) have only just started, however, the direct Cocos flight has had approx 90 pax on it. It has generally been above 80 pax for the round trip thus far.

Pretty good load if you ask me :ok:

7th Apr 2010, 06:10
Oh well, the Illegal immigrants are good for something then!

7th Apr 2010, 09:58


You are a true and genuine Moron.

Enjoy your teens when you get there.


7th Apr 2010, 11:04
Early days as the flight(s) have only just started
Well not really Ansett/NJS/Cobham have been flying that route for about 17 years so it is not as if VB have had to build the route up from nothing. They are simply using a 104 seat aircraft instead of a 70 seat one.

however, the direct Cocos flight has had approx 90 pax on it. It has generally been above 80 pax for the round trip thus far.
Interesting. I had been told that the flights were capped at 80 pax to allow fuel and freight. Maybe I was mis-informed

Flight Detent
8th Apr 2010, 02:50
I thought it was Australian Airlines, not Ansett that operated that route for many a year.

I know for a fact that the Australian Airlines 727s did it for quite some time...then they downgraded to 737s for some time after that.

My last flight there (in a '72), was around Feb/Mar 1988.


8th Apr 2010, 10:51
That 70 seater was capped at 54 seats to allow for seat packs. I don't know of any "capping" for the 190, but if so would be around 90 on the PH-CC leg. That would be at full tanks.

9th Apr 2010, 09:34
The 190 doesnt have seat pax but a little more space underbelly but still doesnt cater for the amount of freight required for the boats

Arthur Boy
9th Apr 2010, 09:38
Slightly off topic, but do we know who has been doing the shuttling to the mainland from XCH for all our uninvited guests? DJ, TL, QF, JQ or VC???

That'd be a nice little earner i would think!

Dog One
9th Apr 2010, 11:03
Have heard Air North's E170 operating YPDN - XMX

9th Apr 2010, 14:25
Virgin 738 been operating several charters to Christmas over the past few months from Perth.

10th Apr 2010, 09:30
Arthur Boy, that would be Alliance and ON.

Goat Whisperer
10th Apr 2010, 10:21
The photo in the Australian last week was a QF 738. Taking overload to mainland.

10th Apr 2010, 10:28
but do we know who has been doing the shuttling to the mainland from XCH for all our uninvited guests?

Pretty much anyone with a serviceable jet, a crew and an AOC. See photo on page 6 of todays Australian.

11th Apr 2010, 04:26
Flight Detent

AN operated the L188 and B727 to the area for many years followed by MV using the BAe146. I think the DC4 and or DC6B may have operated prior to the L188. Prior to this QF operated the L1049.

Arthur Boy
13th Apr 2010, 11:44
Thanks all......looks like everyone is getting in on it.....

And P2G, whats wrong with SS320's post that pushed your button?......please remember this board is about aviation and thoughts of other matters do not belong here.....


11th May 2010, 09:57
My point exactly.:oh:

Capn Bloggs
11th May 2010, 13:00
followed by MV using the BAe146
And the F28 before the Swinebat, Bloggs! :=

14th Jul 2010, 05:59
So any news how the service is going?

I have heard that Christmas Island went over a week without a service due weather and that the next aircraft that made it in there elected not to service Cocos as per their schedule. Happy islanders no doubt.

Also heard that the 146 is still running out there with freight that VB cannot manage due high pax loads.

22nd Jul 2010, 02:29
Three weekends in a row the 146 has taken freight to the Islands because the E Jet cannot carry any and the 737 cannot land at Cocos.

So VB won the contract but the taxpayer has to fund extra services on the 146 because VB cannot "do the job" that they tendered to do?

What a disgrace.

22nd Jul 2010, 03:17
How much freight could the 146 take with 90 or more passengers?

22nd Jul 2010, 05:27
F111, I am not sure how much freight the 146 use to carry, but the Pax numbers use to be capped.

22nd Jul 2010, 10:44

I hear you but surely the tax payer wouldn't be footing the bill. DJ would have to pay Cobham not the taxpayer.

Why DJ even tendered for the contract is beyond me. Cobham wanted out after umteen years, so that should have sounded alarm bells.

14th Aug 2010, 18:14
Was told the other day that the Att General's office is keen to have Cobham take back the contract once Virgin's 3??? year contract is up. Something about more flexibility...Cobham have apparently been doing a lot of rescue flights for Virgin lately to the islands and the powers that be aren't too happy.

15th Aug 2010, 13:34
followed by MV using the BAe146

Who's MV? I joined Ansett WA in '95 and flew the route on the 146 until the collapse. :confused:

Capn Bloggs
15th Aug 2010, 14:32
Who's MV?
Wash your mouth out with soap, CB. Obviously not a REAL Ansett (WA variety) pilot. := :)

MV was the airline code for MacRobertson Miller Airlines; WA's own first jet airline. :ok:

15th Aug 2010, 14:51
And possibly Australias first Airline?

Capn Bloggs
16th Aug 2010, 01:30
Australias first Airline?
WA's first was WA Airways, run by Sir Norman Brearley. In the 30s, MMA outbid them on a contract and it (WAA) was then consumed by some other-side-of-the-black-stump outfit called ANA. 80 years later, it's still going on! That's capitalism for you.

29th Oct 2010, 10:18
So this contract has had time to settle down and bed in as it were. How is it going?

8th Oct 2018, 05:50
Anyone know who has this contract at the moment?

8th Oct 2018, 05:51
VARA use one of their 320’s on it

9th Oct 2018, 12:08
Thanks for that. The reason I asked was that a Cobham 146 operated that route a few days ago so thought they had the contract now.

Cobham's service is a private charter that's been operating roughly once a month for the last year or so, usually to XCH but periodically to CCK also :ok:

12th Oct 2018, 10:09
Why are VA 73's not utilised on these routes?
pavement at Cocos?

12th Oct 2018, 13:56
Lease costs. Why fly a near new very costly 737 when you can fly clapped out A320s that cost 1/10 to lease. Can negotiate harder for the contracts.

FNP would probably cost nothing to lease. The thing is on the verge of 30 years old. You just couldn’t pay to lease it, I’ve been told it’s an absolute shitbox to fly.