There were celebrations at Newcastle Airport on 22 November as the Australian city welcomed the arrival of its first international link since 2012. Virgin Australia Airlines’ first flight to Auckland departed one day later than planned on 23 November. Inger Nieuwkamp, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Russell Shaw, GM, Network, Revenue Management and Alliances, Virgin Australia; Peter Cock, CEO, Newcastle Airport; and Danielle Yannopoulos, Australian Border Force, were on hand to cut the cake and officially open the airport’s new international gate. An impressive route launch cake was also baked to mark occasion.
- Virgin Australia Airlines commenced services on a new route from Newcastle (NTL) in Australia to Auckland (AKL) on 23 November. Flights on the 2,137-kilometre trans-Tasman sector will be operated three times weekly until 17 February on the airline’s 737-800s facing no direct competition. This becomes Newcastle Airport’s first scheduled international route since services to Norfolk Island, an Australian territory in the Pacific Ocean, were discontinued back in 2012. At the time, flights between the island and Australia were classified as international operations, although this changed in 2016 with Norfolk Island subsequently being considered a domestic destination. Virgin Australia will serve three destinations from Newcastle during W18/19, with the carrier also offering domestic links to Brisbane and Melbourne.