Virgin Australia is boosting its flight schedule on short-haul international routes to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands over the southern summer peak season.

The scale of the seasonal flights is similar to what the carrier has operated in previous years. However, it also provides more evidence that the airline will compete strongly in the Australia-New Zealand market following the breakup of its partnership with Air New Zealand at the end of October.

The airline is adding a total of about 65 extra return services that will operate in various periods between Oct. 28 and March 24. Most of the seasonal flights will be on weekends, supplementing existing scheduled flights. On some routes, the added flights will only be during the Christmas/New Years period.

The total includes 18 return flights between Sydney and Queenstown, New Zealand; 18 between Melbourne, Australia and Queenstown; nine between Brisbane, Australia and Christchurch, New Zealand; and 10 between Brisbane and Port Vila, Vanuatu. There will also be an extra weekly flight between Sydney and Apia, Samoa for about three months.

Adrian Schofield,