Category Archives: Virgin Australia Airlines

Virgin Australia to restart Sydney-Canberra services under new exclusive agreement

Virgin Australia has made this announcement:

  • Virgin Australia will relaunch services between Sydney and Canberra from January 30, 2022, using Link Airways aircraft and crew.
  • The services will operate 53 times per week, with up to 9 flights per day on weekdays, adding up to 16,250 seats between the two cities each month.
  • Fares can be purchased from today at virginaustralia.com
  • All Virgin Australia fares include Velocity Frequent Flyer Points and up to double Status Credits^ as part of an ongoing loyalty promotion.
  • Passengers can change or cancel to travel credit with no fees for all domestic travel up to 30 April 2022*.

Virgin Australia will resume flights between Sydney and Canberra from January 30, 2022, with more than 50 services available between the two capital cities each week, under an exclusive agreement with Link Airways.

 

The services, which were first paused in April 2020 at the height of the pandemic, will be operated using Link Airways’ SAAB 340 B Plus aircraft and crew, with up to 9 flights per weekday.

The agreement with Link Airways will extend the Virgin Australia domestic network reach into markets like Sydney-Canberra that its’ own 737-800 aircraft cannot serve effectively.

As the airline quickly ramps up capacity across domestic and short-haul international services it will continue to evaluate new destinations and opportunities to connect Australia.

Since September, Virgin Australia has launched 15 new services, some of which have never been operated in the airline’s 21-year history, as the revitalized business takes flight under new ownership.

 

 

Virgin Australia expands its domestic network

Virgin Australia continues to expand its domestic network launching three new services in time for summer holidays, including the first commercial service linking Launceston and the Gold Coast in more than two decades


Launceston – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Launceston*

Hobart – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Hobart*

Cairns – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Cairns

Scheduled to take off in early December, the three new routes will allow over 19,000 additional passengers to fly each month between Gold Coast, Hobart and Launceston, providing a boost to local business and the tourism sector and allowing more Virgin Australia team members to return to the skies.

The announcement includes the first commercial service connecting Launceston and the Gold Coast in two decades, which will operate three times per week, and allow for up to 4,224 additional passengers each month to fly directly between the two cities.

New services:

Route Commencement date Frequency Seats per month
Cairns – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Cairns 9 December 2021 Up to daily service 9,856
Launceston – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Launceston (seasonal service only) 7 December 2021 3 times per week

(Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday)

4,224
Hobart – Gold Coast // Gold Coast – Hobart

(seasonal service only)

13 December 2021 4 times per week

(Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday)

5,632

*Seasonal services. Launceston-Gold Coast between 07 December 2021 – 25 April 2022. Hobart-Gold Coast between 13 Dec 2021 – 30 Jan 2022.

Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIL (msn 38713) DPS (Pascal Simon). Image: 955167.

Above Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIL (msn 38713) DPS (Pascal Simon). Image: 955167.

Virgin Australia Airlines aircraft slide show:

Virgin Australia launches more Tasmanian services

Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIT (msn 38717) DPS (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955168.

Virgin Australia will introduce two new direct Hobart services, as the airline continues to expand its network schedule in markets with open borders ahead of the Christmas holiday period.

The services include the introduction of direct flights between Hobart – Adelaide, with the first flight taking off on October 22, 2021, and the resumption of services between Hobart and Perth between October 29, 2021 and April 25, 2022.

The news follows a number of other network announcements made by Virgin Australia in the past month, including the commencement of two new Launceston services as the airline pivots to reconnect Australia in new ways.

Virgin Australia Group Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Alistair Hartley said today’s announcement will reconnect more Australians in time for Christmas.

“Virgin Australia continues to look for new ways to expand our network schedule to create more travel opportunities for Australians where free movement across borders is permitted. That’s why we’re proud to announce the launch of services between Hobart, and Adelaide and Perth in time for Christmas,” said Mr Hartley.

New services:

ROUTE FREQUENCY SEATS PER MONTH COMMENCEMENT DATE
Adelaide – Hobart / Hobart – Adelaide 4 services per week

(Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)

5,600 22 October 2021

Re-introduced services

ROUTE FREQUENCY SEATS PER MONTH OPERATIONAL DATE
Hobart – Perth / Perth – Hobart 3 services per week

(Monday, Friday, Sunday)

4,200 29 October 2021 to 25 April 2022

Services launched this month:

ROUTE FREQUENCY SEATS PER MONTH OPERATIONAL DATE
Perth – Launceston / Launceston – Perth 3 services per week

(Monday, Friday, Sunday)

4,200 5 November 2021 to 30 January 2022
Adelaide – Launceston /

Launceston – Adelaide

3 services per week

(Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)

4,200 7 September 2021

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia Airlines Boeing 737-8FE WL VH-YIT (msn 38717) DPS (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955168.

Virgin Australia aircraft slide show:

Virgin Australia launches inaugural Adelaide-Launceston services

Virgin Australia operated the first direct flights between Adelaide and Launceston in more than 20 years with the airline’s inaugural services take-off on September 7.

First announced last month with a series of Virgin Australia network changes to navigate border restrictions, the Adelaide-Launceston flights will operate three-times per week, connecting up to 4,200 travelers each month with some of the country’s best food and wine, culture and natural wonders. The direct services will also generate a much-needed boost to the local tourism industry, while allowing more Virgin Australia employees to return to the skies.

In addition, the airline also reintroduced services between Adelaide and Darwin on September 6.

Virgin Australia to add nine Boeing 737-800 aircraft, will require employee vaccinations

Virgin Australia will introduce nine additional Boeing 737-800 aircraft into its mainline fleet from October this year in preparation for an expected increase in domestic travel as vaccination rates rise and interstate borders open.

The aircraft are planned for operation over the peak summer season to accommodate expected holiday travel, with an aim for all nine to be in the air by mid-February 2022.

Virgin Australia has also commenced planning for the mid-2023 arrival of its first Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft, which will deliver greater operational efficiencies and enhanced product and design features for customers and the environment.

  • The nine Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft have specifications that are compatible with Virgin Australia’s existing fleet.
CURRENT MAINLINE FLEET

As at August, 2021

PLANNED MAINLINE FLEET

By March 2022

2 x Boeing 737-700

66 x Boeing 737-800

Total: 68

2 x Boeing 737-700

75 x Boeing 737-800

Total: 77

In other news, the airline also made this announcement:

  • Virgin Australia has announced that it is commencing consultation with employees and unions over its proposal to require COVID-19 vaccination for all team members, on the basis that vaccination is necessary to keep their people, customers and the wider Australian community safe.
  • A consultation process will commence shortly with relevant unions, employees and safety committees. Under the proposed policy, frontline team members will be required to be vaccinated by 15 November 2021, and all office-based team members by 31 March 2022.
  • Following consultation, and after we have considered feedback from employees and unions, a final policy will be announced next month.
  • Virgin Australia understands some team members have concerns and questions and has established an education campaign to assure and inform as many employees as possible ahead of 15 November 2021.
  • Virgin Australia will launch its VA-X & WIN competition for staff and customers this week to encourage all Australians to get behind vaccination.

Virgin Australia has announced that it is commencing consultation with unions and employees to require COVID-19 vaccination for all team members. The company believes that requiring vaccination is the best way to protect the health and safety of our workforce, and in turn the wider Australian community and everyone’s way of life.

A consultation process will commence shortly with relevant unions, employees and safety committees before Virgin Australia decides a final policy next month.

It is currently proposed that all frontline team members be vaccinated by 15 November 2021, and all office-based team members by 31 March 2022. Those with medical issues that can be substantiated will be managed on a case-by-case basis.

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said that recent events have demonstrated that it only takes one person to create a knock-on effect which creates significant impacts for our employees and the community more broadly.

Virgin Australia will continue to assist employees with securing vaccination appointments and provide flexible working arrangements, so team members can receive their vaccinations.

A recent survey of Virgin Australia team members found that over 75 per cent of our frontline workforce have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with another 9 per cent registered for vaccination.  In relation to our office-based workforce, who do not get the same priority access to vaccines as our frontline team members, over 56 per cent have had at least one dose, with another 27 per cent registered to be vaccinated.

Virgin Australia launches new routes

Virgin Australia has made this announcement:

  • Virgin Australia will juggle its network schedule to launch two new routes in time for the September school holiday period.
  • The new direct services will go on sale from today with introductory one-way Economy sale fares starting from $59 until midnight this Friday 13 August or until sold out.
  • Sale fares are available for select travel dates between September 2021 and June 2022.
  • Last chance for Velocity Frequent Flyer members to earn double Status Credits on eligible new bookings for travel up to 28 June 2022 with the offer ending midnight tomorrow (Tuesday 10 August).
  • Sales fares are available to be booked using travel credits and Future Flight credits.
  • Booking flexibility to change or cancel to travel credit with no fees, available for travel up to 28 February 2022

Virgin Australia will introduce two new direct services ahead of the September school holidays as the airline pivots its network schedule to reconnect Australia in new ways.

The new services, focussed on markets with open borders, include the resumption of flights between Adelaide – Darwin from 6 September and the introduction of a brand-new direct service, never before operated in the airline’s 21-year history, between Adelaide – Launceston, commencing on 7 September.

To kickstart the launch of the services, Virgin Australia is offering the following one-way Economy sale fares from today until midnight this Friday 13 August or until sold-out:

  • Adelaide – Launceston//Launceston – Adelaide from $59
  • Adelaide – Darwin//Darwin – Adelaide from $119

And for customers looking to travel at the pointy end, Virgin Australia will continue to sell their great value Business Class fares on these services:

  • Adelaide – Launceston//Launceston – Adelaide from $299
  • Adelaide – Darwin//Darwin – Adelaide from $529

Along with checked baggage and seat selection included in all airfares, Virgin Australia is also offering double Velocity Frequent Flyer Status Credits on all new eligible bookings (excluding Getaway fares) made by midnight tomorrow (Tuesday 10 August)[3].

Virgin Australia customers who hold travel credits or Future Flight credits are also encouraged to take advantage of the great value fares which are expected to sell-out quickly.

Virgin Australia Group restructures its Boeing 737 MAX order

Virgin Australia Group has announced it has reached an agreement with Boeing to restructure its Boeing 737 MAX order and delivery schedule.

The restructured order book now consists of 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft which are scheduled for delivery from mid-2023, providing greater efficiencies to the airline as well as a better flying experience for customers. The airline will no longer receive the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Recognizing the recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX by the US Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators, Virgin Australia Group remains confident that global return to service plans will support its arrival in mid-2023. This, alongside design features such as the Boeing Sky Interior and higher seating capacity, make for a better product for customers and the environment.

Virgin Australia Group remains in discussions with aircraft manufacturers on a fleet strategy to support the reintroduction of wide body services when long-haul international travel demand returns.

PREVIOUS ORDER:

25 x Boeing 737 MAX 10

First aircraft scheduled to arrive in July 2021

23 x Boeing 737 MAX 8

First aircraft scheduled to arrive in February 2025

 

RESTRUCTURED ORDER:

25 x Boeing 737 MAX 10

First aircraft scheduled to arrive in mid-2023

Reuters: Virgin Australia to cut a third of its Boeing 737 fleet under Bain ownership

From Reuters:

“Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd said on Wednesday it is returning a third of its fleet of Boeing Company 737 planes to lessors and financiers as part of a turnaround plan under new owner Bain Capital.

It has renegotiated financing terms for 56 of the 85 737s it held before it entered voluntary administration in April, a Virgin spokeswoman said, with the others to exit its fleet.

“Once demand returns, it remains our goal to grow our fleet to 75 Boeing 737 aircraft,” the spokeswoman said.”

Virgin Australia resets as a Boeing 737 operator, Tigerair Australia brand closed down

Virgin Australia Group has made this announcement:

Key points:

• Plan for a stronger, more profitable and competitive Virgin Australia coming out of voluntary administration
• Focus on delivering exceptional experiences at great value with Virgin Australia’s core domestic and short-haul international business
• Virgin Australia to provide customers with the value of travel credits post administration with validity dates extended for bookings made prior to administration
• Resetting Virgin Australia to meet lower global and Australian demand, including:
– Reduction in cost base to meet sector uncertainty and COVID-19 market conditions
– Securing approximately 6,000 jobs when the market recovers with 3,000 roles impacted
– Simplified all-Boeing 737 mainline fleet and the retention of the regional and charter fleet, but removing ATR, Boeing 777, Airbus A330 and Tigerair Airbus A320 aircraft types.
Long-haul international flying important part of plan but suspended until global travel market recovers
Tigerair Australia brand discontinued with Air Operator Certificate (AOC) retained to provide option for ultra-low-cost operations when market recovers.
– Continued commitment to regional and charter flying.

The Virgin Australia Group has announced a plan for a stronger, more profitable and competitive business, building on its unique culture and securing approximately 6000 jobs as it prepares to exit voluntary administration under the ownership of Bain Capital.

CEO COMMENTARY

Virgin Australia Group CEO and Managing Director Paul Scurrah said together with Bain Capital, the plan will help to re-establish Virgin Australia as an iconic Australian airline, bringing strong competition for travellers while securing approximately 6,000 direct jobs and indirect employment for more than 30,000 Australians.

“Our aviation and tourism sectors face continued uncertainty in the face of COVID-19 with many Australian airports recording passenger numbers less than three per cent of last year and ongoing changes to government travel restrictions,” said Mr Scurrah.

“Demand for domestic and short-haul international travel is likely to take at least three years to return to pre-COVID-19 levels, with the real chance it could be longer, which means as a business we must make changes to ensure the Virgin Australia Group is successful in this new world.

“In a country as big as Australia, strong competitive airlines are critical in helping restore the economy, which is why in the face of the worst crisis our industry has ever seen, a well-capitalised Virgin Australia Group with a solid and sustainable future is a great outcome for Australians and the nation’s economy.

“Even when we do see a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of travel, successful airlines will be influenced by demand and look very different than the way they did previously, requiring long-term capital, a lower cost base and be more focused on providing exceptional experiences through a combination of great people and world class technologies.

“Working with Bain Capital, we will accelerate our plan to deliver a strong future in a challenging domestic and global aviation market. We believe that over time we can set the foundations to grow Virgin Australia again and re-employ many of the highly skilled Virgin Australia team.

“Our initial focus will be on investing in the core Virgin Australia domestic and short-haul international operation alongside our 10-million-member strong Velocity Frequent Flyer program, continuing to offer an extensive network of destinations, a domestic lounge network and value for money for customers.

“Bain Capital recognises the importance of Virgin Australia’s loyal customers, and that’s why they will be provided the value of their travel credits post administration with validity significantly extended to ensure they have plenty of opportunity to book tickets to their favourite destinations.

“While these changes are important to manage the impact of COVID-19, they involve some very tough decisions. We expect approximately 3,000 roles will be impacted as a result of the changes announced today. However, our intention is to secure approximately 6,000 jobs when the market recovers with aspirations for up to 8,000 in the future. To those that leave the business, I want to thank them for the role they’ve played in making this a great airline. They will be closely supported through our alumni program, have all their entitlements honoured and be provided with a two-year extension of employee travel benefits and early access to retiree and long service benefits.

“Our people have shown incredible resilience under tough circumstances. They are what set the Virgin Australia Group apart and make us so unique. We hope to welcome many of them back as we start to grow again in the future.

“Virgin Australia has been a challenger in the Australian market for 20 years, and as a result of this plan and the investment of Bain Capital we are going to be in a much stronger position to continue that legacy.”

PLAN FOR A STRONGER VIRGIN AUSTRALIA GROUP

The plan is anchored around six key points:

1. Overhaul the cost base, and simplify everything, starting with the fleet

To build a successful airline, the Group will align costs with a depressed and uncertain revenue outlook, simplifying its fleet to realise cost efficiencies and remove operational complexity.

The Group will move to an all-Boeing 737 mainline fleet for domestic and short haul operations which will see the removal of ATR, Boeing 777, Airbus A330 and Tigerair Airbus A320 aircraft.

The Group’s regional and charter fleet will remain, while the company reviews options at Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA), including different operating models to support continued regional and charter flying.

The Group will also undertake a supplier contract review across its operations including products, services and facilities to better align with the company’s future size and requirements and lowering costs significantly.

Virgin Australia will consolidate its footprint and will move its corporate headquarters to 275 Grey Street in Brisbane’s Southbank. This follows a consolidation of its corporate offices in Sydney.

Long-haul international operations are an important part of the Virgin Australia business. However, given current international travel restrictions, the airline will continue to suspend flights to Los Angeles and Tokyo with the intention to recommence and grow long-haul flights when sufficient demand returns. Customers will continue to have access to international markets through the airline’s codeshare partners.

The Tigerair brand will be discontinued in the market as there is not sufficient customer demand to support two carriers at this time. Tigerair Australia’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) will be retained to support optionality to operate an ultra-low-cost carrier in the future when the domestic market can support it.

Note: Tigerair Australia suspended operations on March 25, 2020.

2. Focus on customer value

Virgin Australia aims to be the best value carrier in the market, not a low-cost carrier. It will offer exceptional experiences at great value, regardless of purpose of travel. The airline will serve business travellers, including corporates and customers travelling for a holiday and visiting loved ones, and maintain a two-class cabin offering.

Virgin Australia will continue to offer choice and convenience through an extensive network of domestic and short-haul international destinations including frequent capital city connections and services to leisure and regional markets as part of the company’s future network plans. Virgin Australia will also maintain a network of lounges in key domestic locations with a plan to re-open when demand returns.

Virgin Australia currently operates a reduced network of services to 28 towns and cities across Australia and will continue to add destinations and frequencies in line with demand and to support the nation’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

Virgin Australia will continue to focus on delivering the best on-time performance and maintain an exceptional safety record and safety culture.

In response to COVID-19, Virgin Australia has introduced a range of health and wellbeing measures including a pre-departure eligibility questionnaire, contactless check-in, expanded social distancing measures, and more frequent cleaning onboard and at the airport.

3. Harness culture

The Group’s culture is unique and is the heart and soul of both the airline and Velocity Frequent Flyer. Over the past 12 months, the Group has gone to great lengths to unlock its culture and harness the spirit of its people. The Group will continue to reinvigorate the Virgin Australia brand and its passion for customer service, while embracing the diversity, talent and strength of its people.

4. Investment in world class digital and data technologies

The Group will invest significantly in the comprehensive digital re-platforming of both the airline and Velocity Frequent Flyer program. It will accelerate the Group’s vision for the future, to not only improve Virgin Australia’s commercial capability and guest experience, but significantly enhance the employee experience and increase the pace of profitable revenue growth, enabling faster and bigger job growth opportunities.

5. Strong balance sheet and investment capital for both transformation and growth

The Group will emerge from Voluntary Administration with a strong balance sheet, worthy of an investment grade rating, providing resilience and future growth potential.

Backed by Bain Capital, one of the world’s leading private investment firms with more than $AUD150 billion assets under management, Virgin Australia will have a strong balance sheet to withstand material future shocks to the industry.

6. Jobs and future growth

The Group’s people have shown extraordinary resilience during this uncertain period and the focus now is to preserve as many jobs in the immediate term as possible while building a business that is healthy and sustainable for decades to come.

As a result of the changes announced today, including the transition to a single Boeing 737 fleet for domestic and short-haul flying, it is expected approximately 3,000 jobs will be impacted, primarily across the operations functions, and corporate roles which directly support the operation. Formal consultation with unions and employee groups has commenced today, and all options including voluntary redundancy, redeployment, leave without pay and flexible work arrangements will be explored to retain as many jobs as possible.

While devastating for our people, making these changes now will secure approximately 6,000 jobs once market demand recovers, with potential to increase to 8,000 jobs in the future. Team members who remain stood down as the Group waits for domestic and international travel restrictions to ease, or are on Leave Without Pay, will continue to receive the JobKeeper payment until it expires in March.

All team members that leave the business will depart with care and respect. Their entitlements will be paid in full and the Group is working with over 100 partners to identify short and long-term redeployment opportunities.

TRAVEL CREDITS AND SUPPORT FOR GUESTS

Bain Capital understands customers and staff are at the heart of the Virgin Australia business. As an acknowledgement of this, all travel credits and Velocity Frequent Flyer points will be carried forward under its ownership.

Virgin Australia will provide customers with the value of their travel credits post administration. To preserve value for customers with credits for bookings made prior to administration, booking dates will also be extended to 31 July 2022 for travel until 30 June 2023. Further information about the use of credits will be provided to customers in due course.

Customers and travel agents will be notified directly of any flight cancellations associated with the announcements made today. Tigerair Australia customers and those affected by any cancellations will be provided a travel credit for use on Virgin Australia operated services.

VOTE OF CREDITORS

Deloitte Restructuring Services partners and Administrators Vaughan Strawbridge, John Greig, Sal Algeri and Richard Hughes were appointed on 20 April 2020. They have entered into a binding sale agreement for the business with Bain Capital and continue to work with Bain and Virgin Australia management on the restructuring of the airline.

With full support of Deloitte and Bain Capital, this plan will form part of a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA), which will be put to a vote at the second creditors’ meeting.

Tigerair Australia aircraft photo gallery:

Tigerair Australia aircraft slide show:

https://airlinersgallery.smugmug.com/frame/slideshow?key=cLnW72&speed=3&transition=fade&autoStart=1&captions=0&navigation=0&playButton=0&randomize=0&transitionSpeed=2

Bain Capital to acquire Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia has made this announcement:

Virgin Australia is today a step closer to re-launch with the announcement that Bain Capital has entered into an agreement with its Administrators to become the new owner of the airline.

The Virgin Australia Group will now work closely with Bain Capital on its vision for the business moving forward.

Virgin Australia Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Paul Scurrah, said that today was a significant step forward in securing the airline’s future.

“This is a great day for Virgin Australia and a huge milestone as we move forward with Bain Capital,” said Mr Scurrah.

“Bain Capital has spent many hours over the past weeks speaking to us and getting a deep understanding of our business and working to secure a deal with our administrators. We know they are committed to investing in the airline and we are thrilled to be working with them into the future.

“It was always the goal to bring our airline out of administration as quickly as possible in a stronger financial position and this announcement brings us a step closer to that. Bain’s investment will cement our future as a major Australian carrier, secure thousands of direct and indirect jobs, and ensure we can continue to bring competition to millions of customers for many years to come.

“We thank our customers and partners for their loyalty and support during such a challenging period. Australia needs a second airline and, with the significant backing of Bain Capital, we’ll continue to serve our customers with competitive fares and high-quality air travel into the future.

“We also thank Deloitte partners John Greig, Sal Algeri, Richard Hughes and Vaughan Strawbridge, and the teams at Morgan Stanley, Clayton Utz and Houlihan Lokey for their work getting us to this point.”

Approved for release by John Greig, Administrator, Deloitte.

Virgin Australia aircraft photo gallery: