Aviation

Virgin Australia to suspend all international flying

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Virgin Australia will temporarily ground its entire international fleet and cut domestic capacity in half.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, the airline said it had made the decision due to increased government travel restrictions and impacts on travel demand due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We have entered an unprecedented time in the global aviation industry,” Virgin Australia CEO and managing director Paul Scurrah said.

“[That] has required us to take significant action to responsibly manage our business while balancing traveller demands and supporting the wellbeing of Australians.”

As a result, Virgin Australia has made the decision to temporarily suspend all international services from 30 March to 14 June – including its inaugural Brisbane to Haneda service – grounding the equivalent of 53 aircraft, the airline said.

Domestic operations, which account for 88 per cent of passengers and 78 per cent of Virgin Australia’s revenue, have been cut by 50 per cent. Scurrah advised the airline would maintain most domestic routes and instead focus on reducing frequencies in its flying schedule.

See more: Qantas increases international capacity cuts to nearly 90 per cent

Between now and 29 March, Virgin Australia said it would operate a reduced international schedule to allow Australians and visitors to return home, with the group to work closely with the federal government to prioritise these journeys.

Virgin Australia said it would also aim to avoid redundancies by fast-tracking accrued leave, leave without pay and redeployment, but said in some cases job losses would be the outcome.

“The changes announced today will affect our people and we are having constructive discussions with team members and relevant unions,” Scurrah said.

“The Virgin Australia Group is focused on ensuring we manage the business through this difficult period and maintain a strong and competitive aviation in Australia for the years to come.”

The group currently sits on a cash position in excess of $1 billion, with no significant debt maturities until October 2021, and no new aircraft deliveries until July 2021.

Previously, Virgin advised it would temporarily reduce chairman and independent board director fees by 15 percent and remove executive bonuses to offset impacts to the company.

The announcement comes as the federal government prepares to sign-off on a $715 million relief package for Australian airlines, which involves the refunding and ongoing waiving of a range of government charges on the industry.

The suspension will see Virgin’s inaugural Brisbane-Haneda service pushed back (Virgin Australia/Jen Dainer)

Virgin said the route and schedule detail of changes across Virgin Australia and Tigerair Australia is currently being worked through and will be published over the next week.

In addition, the grounding will see the postponement of Virgin’s inaugural Brisbane to Haneda flight from 29 March, and the airline’s Melbourne to Denpasar service.

Virgin has set up a “dedicated customer care hub” on its virginaustralia.com website to deal with specific customer queries and travel changes.

Furthermore, guests with new or existing domestic and international bookings through to 30 June 2020 are entitled to change their flight to a later date or a different destination, or both, without incurring a fee.

Guests who no longer wish to travel can also cancel their flight and receive a travel credit.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Wholesalers

Wholesaler Wrap: Travelmarvel opens bookings for Canada and Alaska, Explore’s refund promise + MORE

Looking for a way to get your working week off to a flyer? The latest Wholesaler Wrap is here to provide that kickstart you’re after.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Man dies after falling down cliff during bushwalk in Queensland

by Huntley Mitchell

A 32-year-old man has tragically died after falling down a cliff while bushwalking in Queensland’s Scenic Rim region.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

TMS Talent diversifies with new acquisition

The global recruitment firm has gone and stuck its finger in another pie with the announcement of a new acquisition.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Here’s what it’s like flying domestically during COVID-19

by Ali Coulton

Ease your clients’ worries by knowing exactly what they can expect when flying domestically during the COIVD-19 pandemic.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Destination Wrap: New industry toolkits for NSW, Abu Dhabi’s Specialist Program success + MORE

It’s been a big last few days of destination-related news. Get up to scratch here with your favourite source.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Cap on international arrivals introduced to ease pressure on hotel quarantine systems

by Christian Fleetwood

Australia is set to see a lot less aviation activity from overseas, as National Cabinet tries to ease the quarantine burden being carried by hotels.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Global travel association ceases operations

Travel Weekly doesn’t enjoy being the bearer of bad news like this, so we’ll forgive you if you skip over this story.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Why now is the perfect time to become an Amazing Thailand Specialist

by Sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand

While Aussie travellers can’t take a holiday to Thailand just yet, that doesn’t mean travel agents should put off educating themselves about the popular Asian destination.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin christens Brisbane Airport’s second runway as borders reopen

Virgin Australia had first dibs on Brisbane Airport’s new runway over the weekend, kicking off a special celebration of Queensland’s aviation history.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Ponant’s Monique Ponfoort to lead Aurora Expeditions

We’ve got some big cruise news to start the day, with the delightful Monique Ponfoort set to jump ship from Ponant to Aurora.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin drops more than half a million Queensland airfares from $85

While its sale to Bain Capital is not yet set in stone, Virgin is still taking it to Qantas with a huge sale.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent Wrap: New AFTA chief mingles, Tripadvisor trials customer-to-agent service + MORE

It’s finally Friday! Or, as we call it in the Travel Weekly office, Agent Wrap day. We also like to call it Wineday.

Share

CommentComments