Saturday, 21 March 2020

Virgin Australia suspends international flights and scales back domestic network

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA B777-3ZG VH-VPE (CN 37939)         File Photo

Virgin Australia, like most of the airlines around the world, announced it would suspend all international flights and slash domestic flights through to at least the 14th June. The carrier’s draw-down came shortly after Qantas, (Australia’s largest carrier) made a similar move a few days ago. In a statement, Virgin Australia said the cuts are “in response to expanded government travel restrictions and increased impacts from COVID-19 on travel demand.”

“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 the 30th March to the 14th 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. 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.
This is taken from the Virgin Australia website

This page provides the latest information on travel restrictions and flight cancellations.

For information on how to cancel or rebook your flight, please head to our Customer Hub here.

Travel Restrictions

We recommend all passengers travelling internationally to check the latest information and advice on the relevant Government websites. The Australian Government information is available at the Border Force website, Department of Health website and Smartraveller.
  • The Australian Government has announced a travel ban prohibiting entry into Australia for non-Australian citizens and non-permanent residents from 9:00pm AEDT on Friday 20 March 2020. This applies to passengers who have boarded a flight inbound to Australia after 9:00pm AEDT on this day. 
  • The Australian Government has increased the travel advice for all Australians to Level 4 – Do Not Travel Overseas. 
  • Both of the above measures are indefinite, and you can find more information on the Smartraveller website here. 
  • The Australian Government has advised that domestic travel remains low-risk.
  • The Tasmanian Government has announced new travel restrictions, requiring all non-essential travellers to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry into Tasmania. This applies to passengers arriving into Tasmania after midnight on Friday 20 March 2020.
  • For the latest advice regarding travel to Tasmania, please visit the Tasmanian Government website and the Smartraveller website.

It added that affected customers would be contacted about new booking options by email, and will be prioritized in order of departure date. Virgin Australia also released a list of flights since the 5th March that have had passengers onboard who later tested positive for coronavirus and this list can be found here.

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