Aviation

Virgin to stand down 8,000 staff as domestic capacity cut by 90 per cent

Virgin Australia Group has extended its domestic capacity reduction from 50 per cent to 90 per cent, including the immediate suspension of Tigerair Australia’s domestic services.

With state border closures escalating across Australia, the Virgin has been forced to take further action that will see the suspension of most of its domestic flying from midnight Friday 27 March (AEDT) until 14 June 2020.

This is in addition to the group’s decision to temporarily suspend international flying from 30 March to 14 June 2020 and close all Virgin Australia-operated lounges across the network.

The group will continue to operate near-daily services to 17 Australian destinations for the purpose of transporting essential services, critical freight and logistics.

To find out more about Virgin’s revised domestic schedule, click here.

Virgin has also announced it will temporarily stand down approximately 80 per cent of the company’s 10,000-strong workforce until at least the end of May.

During the stand-down, staff will be able to access accrued leave entitlements, but leave without pay will be inevitable for many. The company said it is working with more than 25 partners to identify short- and long-term redeployment options.

As a matter of priority, and to streamline and safeguard its domestic and short-haul international businesses through COVID-19, Virgin will commence consultation on a proposal to close its New Zealand cabin crew and pilot base, as well as its Tigerair Melbourne pilot base.

Virgin Australia guests who are booked to travel between now and 30 June 2020 are encouraged to visit the airline’s customer care hub to request a travel credit online or obtain more information about their options.

Virgin Australia and Tigerair Australia guests who are booked to travel between now and 31 March 2020 are being provided flexibility to change their flight to a Virgin Australia service departing on or before 27 March, with change fees and fare difference waived.

All other Tigerair Australia guests will be able to obtain a Virgin Australia travel credit.

Virgin Australia boss Paul Scurrah

Virgin Australia CEO and managing director Paul Scurrah said: “There has never been a travel environment in Australia as restricted as the one we see today, and the extraordinary steps we’ve taken have been in response to the federal and state governments’ latest travel advice.

“We are now facing what will be the biggest grounding of aircraft in this country’s history. From the end of this week, we will begin repositioning and grounding more than 125 aircraft in our fleet, suspending almost all our domestic and international flying until at least the middle of June.

“I know our people have been working tirelessly to help guests get home ahead of the various state travel restrictions and their efforts should be applauded as they adapt to a rapidly-changing environment.

“We plan to return Tigerair Australia and Virgin Australia to the skies as soon as it’s viable to do so; however, I am mindful that how we operate today may look different when we get to the other side of this crisis.

“My focus has been on guiding this company through the crisis, and at the same time ensure the business is set on a sustainable path when the recovery eventually comes.

“I am only too aware of how much our people are hurting at the moment and these very tough decisions have weighed heavily on me and my leadership team.

“We are talking to our teams and we are working hard to do what we can to protect jobs and extend payments for as long as possible.”

These latest changes at Virgin come after Scurrah wrote to the competition watchdog calling for an investigation into comments made by rival and Qantas boss Alan Joyce about the possibility of extra assistance for the Richard Branson-backed airline beyond that of other carriers to outlast the COVID-19 crisis.

An ACCC spokesperson confirmed to Travel Weekly it had received the letter from Scurrah “and will be looking at the issues raised”.

Featured image credit: iStock/peterfz30



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Tourism

Travel industry stalwart dominates World Spirit Awards with gin championing Aussie landscapes

If delicious gin, supporting Aussie businesses and promoting domestic travel are relevant to your interests (and we should hope all three are) this one is for you.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Travel veteran launches unique tour operator

Travel industry veteran and former tour leader Kristina Wilson has launched her very own tour operator, offering trips with a twist.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Travel DAZE speaker Anna Marsden from Great Barrier Reef Foundation chats purposeful travel

We caught up with Anna Marsden to discuss purposeful travel, saving coral reefs, and unwinding on a nice long haul flight.

Share

CommentComments

News

Japan to allow more group tours from next month

Japan beginning to re-open means travel fanatics can stop living vicariously through manga comics and start downloading their favourite anime for the nine-hour flight.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

WATCH: United Airlines worker brawls with former NFL player

We would never condone violence, but we think if you’re going to fight a passenger maybe pick someone who isn’t a former athlete next time.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas cuts capacity, hints at fare rise in response to fuel prices

Has the prospect of spending $2.50 a litre on petrol this week got you in hysterics? Qantas can relate.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flight Centre taps Melissa Elf as MD for corporate travel division

After a quarter of a century in the travel industry, Elf is taking over Flight Centre’s corporate travel arm. No word yet on who is taking the legs.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Dennis Bunnik crashes Europe tours to celebrate restart of summer season

The joint-CEO of Bunnik Tours has joined travellers for a quick jaunt to Europe, because who says clients are the only ones who get to enjoy the travel restart?!

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

DayAway lands in Australia

The online booking site is here to show Aussies that you no longer have to trawl through your travel a directory for somewhere to stay.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Catalan Tourism Board launch grand tour and announce alliance with FC Barcelona

If witnessing FC Barcelona beat some Aussies in a football game last night wasn’t enough Catalonian culture for you, maybe consider a nice tour through the Catalonian country side to really take it in!

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Jackson Hole reveal what’s new for the Winter 22/23 season

If it’s been 2 and a half years since you’ve been skiing then Jackson Hole have you sorted with a variety of new adventures on offer this year.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Get to know one of our incredible Travel DAZE speakers, Dr. Karl! Tickets are going fast!

Travel DAZE is fast approaching and we have Australia’s most loved clever person gracing us with an incredible talk on the psychological benefits of travel.

Share

CommentComments