Virgin Australia has begun its sizeable overhaul of its domestic facilities at Melbourne Airport’s Terminal 3, with many of the upgrades expected to come into effect by the end of this year.
The airline announced its plan to overhaul its domestic facilities at the airport back in December, with an expected opening date of mid-2019. Among the improvements will be a Premium Entry facility for business class travellers as well as Platinum and Gold Velocity Frequent Flyer members offering dedicated check-in, baggage drop and security screening services just ahead of the lounge.
Passengers won’t have to wait until the middle of next year to start seeing upgrades, however. Starting today, the carrier is replacing its check-in kiosks in its general boarding area, along with installing new service pods and desks. Virgin Australia expects the majority of its automatic baggage drop facilities to be installed by the end of the year.
Additional ground crew are also being deployed in the check-in hall over the next few months while replacement work is going on. “We also want to move our ground crew into more of a concierge-style role, where they are brought out from behind the counters and are able to better assist the needs of our passengers,” said Rob Sharp, Virgin Australia Airlines group executive.
In the meantime, the airline is recommending that passengers check-in ahead of arriving at the airport either online or via its app, and to arrive at least one hour before their scheduled flight time.
“This is an instrumental project that will streamline and dramatically enhance the check-in experience for Virgin Australia’s guests flying from T3,” said Simon Gandy, Melbourn Airport’s chief of aviation. “It marks the commencement of the broader development plans we have with Virgin Australia for Terminal 3 and importantly it integrates with the wider development works underway throughout the airport.”
Melbourne Airport expects record levels of travellers during the Christmas and New Year period and Gandy added “it will be great to have this new experience in place ahead of this”.
Virgin Australia notably began operating flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong last summer, which starting this October will once again fly daily. The airline has since begun codesharing with Hong Kong Airlines and Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines, with both carriers now placing their codes on a number of domestic services operated by Virgin Australia, including flights to and from Melbourne.
Melbourne is one of Virgin Australia’s busiest hubs and sees more than 100 return flights operated by the airline every day.