Virgin Australia has cut a quarter of flights for the rest of January and February 2022 as the rise in Omicron cases disrupts availability of employees and crew in the country. Low travel demand is also another factor in the airline’s decision to reduce its capacity.
The airline has suspended nine domestic routes as well as its sole international service to Fiji, and reduced the number of flights on some other routes.
“Virgin Australia is dedicated to the communities that we serve and will resume these flights as soon as possible,” Virgin (VAH) chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said in a statement.
“Although we don’t know when this wave will pass, we do know that as we make the shift to living with COVID-19 there will continue to be changes in all our lives.”
“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to any guest impacted by the changes to our flight schedule during this time,” Hrdlicka said.
Hrdlicka also told local press on January 10, 2022 that Virgin Australia “remains focused on growing its network and consumer reach and will resume services as soon as travel demand improves”.
Hrdlicka added: “Virgin Australia has been working hard to grow into 33 per cent domestic market share with a travel experience that Australia knows and loves. We are well-placed for future growth and success, and will continue to be flexible and adaptable as circumstances require.”
Routes suspended by Virgin Australia are as follows:
Adelaide – Darwin
Adelaide – Cairns
Adelaide – Sunshine Coast
Coffs Harbour – Melbourne
Hamilton Island – Melbourne
Sydney – Townsville
Melbourne – Townsville
Gold Coast – Launceston
Gold Coast – Hobart
Sydney – Fiji
Some of these services, like Adelaide to Cairns and Sydney to Townsville, will not resume until June 23, 2022.
On January 10, 2022, Australia surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases, with half of that number recorded in the previous week.