Virgin Australia has announced further drastic cuts to their fleet, extending domestic capacity reduction from 50 per cent to 90 per cent – meaning only 10 per cent of their flights will continue across the country.
The airline’s budget carrier, Tigerair Australia, will ground all their domestic services effective immediately.
The airline announced they will also be suspending 8000 jobs, a “dramatic step” the airline needed to take in response to the coronavirus outbreak and market conditions.
Virgin Australia CEO and Managing Director Paul Scurrah said the decision to suspend 8 per cent of the airline’s workforce was in response to the federal and state governments’ latest travel advice.
“The extraordinary steps we’ve taken have been in response to the federal and state governments latest advice,” he said in a statement.
“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.”
Mr Scurrah also said budget carrier Tigerair will suspend all flights effective immediately.
“We plan to return Tigerair Australia and Virgin Australia to the skies as soon as its 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,” he said.
Earlier this month, the airline announced they would suspend all international flying for two and a half months from March 30 to June 14.
Last week, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce announced the airline would be suspending all international flights and standing down two-thirds of its 30,000 workers in the face of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the worst crisis the aviation industry has gone through,” Mr Joyce told ABC’s 7.30 program.
Qantas international flights will be suspended from the end of March until May and domestic services will be cut by 60 per cent. The cuts also apply to Qantas’ subsidiary Jetstar.
More than 150 aircraft will be temporarily grounded, including all Qantas’ A380s, 747s and 787-9s, and Jetstar’s 787-8 fleet.
About 20,000 Qantas and Jetstar staff will be stood down during that time. Qantas said in a statement to the ASX this morning the decision was made to “preserve as many jobs as possible longer term”.