Category Archives: Virgin Australia Airlines

Virgin Australia drops all domestic routes except one

Virgin Australia Group made this announcement:

The Virgin Australia Group continues to monitor passenger demand and has made further adjustments to its flying schedule. Demand for travel has continued to decline with border restrictions and the need for people to stay home due to social distancing measures.

The Group will continue to operate a daily service between Melbourne and Sydney but will temporarily suspend other passenger flying from Friday, April 10, 2020 while restrictions remain in place. We continue to support the Australian Government with flights between Los Angeles (below) and Hong Kong to help bring Australians home and maintain important freight links in and out of the country.

Demand for charter services in the resources sector remains strong and we continue to support our customers with services. We also remain open to charter opportunities or any flying the Australian Government needs support with.

We stand ready to support Australians flying to their destinations again when travel restrictions ease.

All photos by Virgin Australia.

Virgin Australia Group revises its domestic schedule, Tigerair Australia suspends operations, asks for state aid

The Virgin Australia Group has confirmed a revised domestic schedule following the Group’s decision to extend domestic capacity reductions from 50 percent to 90 percent, including the suspension to Tigerair Australia domestic services effective immediately.

The Group will continue to operate near daily services to 17 Australian destinations for the purpose of transporting essential services, critical freight and logistics. The Group will temporarily suspend services to 19 Australian destinations from midnight March 27 to June 14, 2020.

Virgin Australia will temporarily suspend services to the following destinations from midnight March 27 and June 14, 2020:

  • Albury
  • Alice Springs
  • Ayers Rock (Uluru)
  • Ballina Byron
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Cloncurry
  • Darwin
  • Emerald
  • Hervey Bay
  • Hamilton Island
  • Hobart
  • Mount Isa
  • Launceston
  • Mildura
  • Sunshine Coast (Maroochydore)
  • Newcastle
  • Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine)
  • Port Macquarie*
  • Tamworth

The below Virgin Australia domestic services will continue to operate, at a significantly reduced rate:

Brisbane

  • Brisbane – Sydney
  • Brisbane – Cairns
  • Brisbane – Melbourne
  • Brisbane – Mackay
  • Brisbane – Perth
  • Brisbane – Rockhampton
  • Brisbane – Townsville

Melbourne

  •  Melbourne – Sydney
  •  Melbourne – Brisbane
  •  Melbourne – Canberra
  •  Melbourne – Perth
  •  Melbourne – Adelaide

Sydney

  • Sydney – Melbourne
  • Sydney -Brisbane
  • Sydney – Gold Coast

Perth

  • Perth – Melbourne
  • Perth – Brisbane
  • Perth – Broome
  • Perth – Kalgoorlie
  • Perth – Kununurra
  • Perth – Karratha
  • Perth – Onslow
  • Perth – Port Hedland
  • Perth – Newman
  • Perth – Christmas Island / Cocos Keeling Islands

Virgin Austraila’s charter-operated services continue to operate as scheduled.

Tigerair Australia will temporarily suspend all services effective immediately.

In other news, the group has asked for a $1.4 billion loan from the Australian government.

Virgin Australia aircraft photo gallery:

Tigerair Australia aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Australia Group provides an update on coronavirus response

Virgin Australia Group has made this announcement:

Key points:
• Group capacity reduction to increase from 3 percent to 6 percent in 2H20 and increase to 7.7 percent in 1H21
• Domestic capacity reduction to increase from 3 percent to 5 per cent for 2H20 and increase to 6.2 percent in 1H21
• International capacity reduction to increase from 4.8 percent to 8 per cent in 2H20 and increase to 10.3 percent in 1H21
• This includes reducing Los Angeles, Japan, and Trans-Tasman services and the exit of Auckland services between Tonga and Rarotonga
• Temporary reduction in Chairman and Independent Board Director fees by 15 percent
• Additional cost reduction measures include a removal of management bonuses, no base salary increases for non-EA team members, and leave initiatives
• Earning guidance suspended due to uncertainty and the evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation
The Virgin Australia Group has announced additional reductions in capacity and cost measures to address the impact of COVID-19 and has also reassured guests of the onboard health and safety measures to enhance their protection.
Over the past two weeks, the global travel industry has seen a significant decline in forward bookings due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and consumer uncertainty surrounding overseas travel.
As a predominately domestic airline, the Virgin Australia Group is insulated from some of the broader international impacts. The Group’s domestic operations account for 88 percent of passengers and 78 percent of flight revenue. However, the Group is taking action to reduce capacity in the international markets it operates in and reduce domestic capacity in line with weakened demand in certain markets.
The Group continues to maintain its high health and safety standards for all guests and crew. As an extra precaution during this time, it has also recently implemented additional hygiene measures in the air and on the ground.
Domestic changes
Across the Group, domestic capacity will be cut by 5 per cent for 2H20, driven by a reduction of 7 percent in Q4. This is an increase on the 3 percent reduction previously announced on  February 26, 2020 due to continued market softness and decreased demand and forward bookings.
Services that will be reduced are mainly on markets that have multiple daily frequencies, minimising disruption to guests.
International changes
The Group has observed increasing weakness in international forward bookings and is reducing international capacity by 8 per cent in 2H20 to meet current and expected demand. The international changes announced today follow the Group’s recent withdrawal from Hong Kong services.
Key changes are:
• Reducing the daily Brisbane to Haneda service to three times per week from March 29 until May 3.
• Reducing the daily Sydney to Los Angeles service to five times per week from early May to early June.
• Further reducing Trans-Tasman services from a 2.6 percent reduction to 6 percent for 2H20, including the strategic reduction of frequencies on Auckland-Melbourne to daily from May and a temporary reduction on Auckland-Sydney services.
In addition, the Group also announced an exit of the following services as a continuation of the ongoing network strategic review:
• Auckland-Tonga to cease on May 1.
• Auckland-Rarotonga to cease on July 21.
The Group will continue to assess any impact from COVID-19 and respond with relevant changes as conditions evolve.
Continued focus on cost reduction
In addition to the already announced 750 non-Enterprise Agreement (EA) role reductions and middle and senior management salary freezes, the Group is also undertaking further measures to reduce costs including:
• Seeking relief on Government charges.
• A decrease in marketing spend.
• Stopping all discretionary spend and non-critical capital expenditure.
• Targeting a reduction in hotel accommodation charges.
• Leave initiatives including using accrued annual leave or unpaid leave or reducing standard working hours where operationally available.
• A freeze on all external recruitment and the use of consultants for the remainder of FY20.
• Chairman and Independent Directors to reduce their base fees by 15 per cent temporarily. Nominee Directors do not currently receive fees.
• Reducing all bonuses to zero across the Group for FY20.
• No base salary increases for non-EA team members.
Advice for guests
While the overall risk in Australia of contracting COVID-19 in the community remains low, the Group has taken a number of steps to enhance protection on its flights.
All aircraft are cleaned to the highest standards daily, crew maintain the highest hygiene standards on board, and all flights are equipped with hand sanitiser and face masks.
There is also a commercial policy available for guests wishing to change their travel due to COVID-19. Virgin Australia guests with new or existing international bookings through to 30 June 2020 have the option to change their flight to a later date and/or to a different destination, without incurring any change fees1.
As a result of the new measures announced today, guests with any changes to their bookings will be contacted directly with alternative travel arrangements including refunds for any routes that the Group is no longer servicing.
Update on financial position
The Group is suspending earnings guidance for FY20 due to ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation.
The Group currently has a cash position in excess of $1 billion, with no significant debt maturities until October 2021 and no new aircraft deliveries until July 2021.
CEO commentary
Virgin Australia Group CEO and Managing Director Paul Scurrah said the global industry has seen a significant decline in demand and the Group continued to assess its response to the evolving situation.
“We have already announced a number of measures to mitigate the impact from COVID-19, however the pace of the global spread and decline in demand has required us to implement further changes today to minimise the future financial impact,” said Mr Scurrah.
“As a largely domestic airline, we are less exposed to the impact on international travel, however we remain disciplined in our focus on managing capacity in response to forward bookings and continuing to reduce costs across the business. It’s worth noting that domestic operations account for 88 per cent of our passengers and 78 per cent of our flight revenue.
“The reductions in services will also mean reduced flying for our crew and we are committed to working with them through this period and providing a range of options.
“Pleasingly, our travel bookings to Western Australia and local leisure destinations such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and Hamilton Island continue to be ahead of where they were at the same time last year. This demonstrates Australians are continuing to travel within our own backyard and support local tourism.
“These measures announced today are intended to soften the impact from COVID-19 and safeguard our company for the future.”
Virgin Australia aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Australia announces further route cuts, will remove 7 Tigerair Airbus A320s

The Virgin Australia Group has announced a number of further changes as part of its fleet and network review to help manage costs, improve financial performance and respond to current market conditions.

The changes come as coronavirus has a weakening effect on international and domestic demand, with an expected $50-75 million impact to the Group’s earnings for FY20 as reported in its 1H20 results today.

The Group will reduce overall network capacity by three percent in 2H20, which includes a three percent reduction in domestic capacity and short-term capacity reductions on the Tasman in Q4FY20 to manage current conditions.

The changes focus largely on leisure destinations where demand is weaker, and where Virgin Australia and Tigerair both operate, and includes the withdrawal from five unprofitable Tigerair routes and some frequency consolidation on existing domestic routes where demand has also been impacted.

In line with the reduction, seven additional Tigerair Airbus A320 aircraft will cease flying by October 2020. This follows the announcement of five aircraft exits in November 2019, bringing the total to 12, which will help the Group further manage costs and improve financial performance.

The impact of the current fleet reduction initiative is equivalent to approximately a five percent Virgin Australia Group capacity reduction in FY21.

Network changes

Tigerair Australia will exit the following domestic leisure routes in addition to frequency reductions on existing routes:

  • Melbourne-Coffs Harbour from April 27, 2020
  • Sydney-Coffs Harbour from April 27, 2020
  • Adelaide-Sydney from April 27, 2020
  • Sydney-Cairns from April 27, 2020
  • Hobart-Gold Coast from April 28, 2020

Internationally, the Group already announced the withdrawal from the Hong Kong market due to ongoing challenges with the route, impact of civil unrest and coronavirus on demand. Short-term capacity reductions will be made on the Tasman in Q4FY20 due to weakening demand attributable to coronavirus.

Passengers with bookings impacted by these changes will be proactively communicated with and re-accommodated onto other services. Tigerair customers impacted by the above route exits will be re-accommodated onto other Tigerair flights where possible, or onto Virgin Australia services.

Fleet changes

Seven Airbus A320 aircraft are scheduled to exit Tigerair’s fleet in addition to two A320 aircraft exits from Tigerair previously announced in November 2019, making a total of nine A320s to cease flying by October 2020. Two Boeing 737 aircraft will be transferred from Virgin Australia’s fleet into the Tigerair fleet.

The changes accelerate the transition of Tigerair Australia to an all-Boeing 737 fleet, which brings cost and operational advantages to the low-cost carrier over operating multiple fleet types.

CEO commentary

Virgin Australia Group CEO and Managing Director, Paul Scurrah, said “Today, we’ve made some important fleet and network changes that will help us improve our financial performance and respond to market conditions.

“There’s no doubt we are operating in a tough market, and we need to make sure our capacity deployment is disciplined to ensure our routes are profitable for our business. Coronavirus is having a significant impact on the travel industry and these changes will help us manage the changes we’re seeing in demand.

“We maintain a very strong network of more than 450 destinations between us and our partners and, whilst we have made some announcements to manage costs today, we are as focused as ever on continuing to deliver a great experience for our customers.

“I’m pleased we can accelerate the transition of Tigerair to an all Boeing 737 fleet which will help get the business into a better financial position moving forward.”

Tigerair aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Australia to drop Hong Kong

Virgin Australia has announced it will withdraw its services between Australia and Hong Kong following a comprehensive review of the route. The Hong Kong market has remained challenging for the airline and demand has continued to decline following ongoing civil unrest. These factors, combined with growing uncertainty around the recent coronavirus outbreak, have led to the decision to cease operating services.

Virgin Australia previously announced the suspension of its Melbourne-Hong Kong services in November 2019, which is effective from February 11, 2020. The Sydney-Hong Kong service will cease operating from March 2, 2020.

Guests booked to travel on services between Sydney and Hong Kong from March 2, 2020 onwards, will be contacted by Virgin Australia via email, or by their travel provider to provide alternative arrangements.

Virgin Australia aircraft photo gallery:

Virgin Australia becomes the first operator of Split Scimitar® Winglets in Australia

Virgin Australia Airlines is now the first airline in Australia to install Split Scimitar Winglets on its Boeing Next Generation 737-800 aircraft.  The Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) product, a retrofit of the existing Blended Winglets, is the most advanced technology winglet ever produced, offering unprecedented fuel savings and carbon emissions reductions for the world’s most popular commercial aircraft.

Installation on the first aircraft was completed last week in Christchurch and now Virgin Australia can expect to reduce fuel consumption by about 200,000 liters per aircraft per year.  The resulting carbon dioxide emissions reduction is about 515 tonnes per aircraft per year.

Since launching the Split Scimitar Winglet program for the Boeing Next-Generation 737, APB has taken orders and options for over 2,200 systems, and over 1,200 aircraft are now operating with the technology.  APB estimates its products have reduced aircraft fuel consumption worldwide by over 9.8 billion gallons to-date, thereby eliminating over 104 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Virgin Australia pushes back its first Boeing 737 MAX delivery to July 2021

Boeing

Virgin Australia has announced it will delay the delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

The airline has 48 copies on order (23 MAX 8s and 25 MAX 10s).

The first delivery has been delayed from November 2019 to July 2021. The first delivery will be a MAX 10.