Amid the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, Virgin Australia Group is reducing domestic capacity by 90% on top of the suspension of all international flying announced earlier. The group will ground 125 aircraft starting from the following week, the company announced on March 25, 2020. Tigerair Australia is suspending all domestic operations immediately.
The airline group, which is already suspending all international routes, is taking further measures and cutting most of its domestic flights as well. Starting from midnight of March 27, it would temporarily cease flights to 19 Australian destinations currently operated by Virgin Australia. As it is the case with international flights, the temporary suspension is expected to last until June 14, 2020.
Virgin Australia Group now plans, working with the country’s government, to maintain only the “vital” domestic routes. The company would keep the connectivity to 17 Australian destinations to transport essential services, critical freight and logistics.
Virgin Australia, Australia’s second-largest airline group, held a 37.7% capacity share of the country’s domestic aviation market, as it was outlined in the company’s investors presentation in 2019.
Previously, the group said it would suspend all international flying starting from March 30. Until then, Virgin Australia is operating a reduced schedule to “enable Australians to return home and visitors to return to their point of origin”.
Virgin Australia Group is also laying off approximately 80% of its 10,000 employees, until “at least” the end of May 2020. Many of them, according to the company, “leave without pay will be inevitable”.
Biggest aircraft grounding in Australia’s history
Following the drastic cuts of its flight schedule, the airline group plans to ground 125 aircraft. The group has a fleet of 133 aircraft across the three airline brands, namely Virgin Australia, Virgin Australia Regional and Tigerair.
Virgin Australia CEO and Managing Director Paul Scurrah described the situation as “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,” Scurrah is cited in the company’s statement as saying.
Tigerair Australia suspends all operations
Tigerair Australia is suspending all services effective immediately.
Passengers who have booked a flight between March 25 -30 are asked to change it for a corresponding Virgin Australia service departing until March 27. All others would be given Virgin Australia travel credit, according to the airline’s statement.