Virgin Australia has announced it is suspending all domestic flights except for one between Sydney and Melbourne as the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact the airline industry.
The airline said need for travel has dropped dramatically since the COVID-19 outbreak, with Australians told to stay home and not undertake any unnecessary travel.
A spokesperson for Virgin said the decision was in response to the recent downturn in customers.
“As a result of government restrictions, less people are travelling and we have made changes to our schedules to reflect this,” they said.
“We continue to operate a daily service between Melbourne and Sydney, provide cargo transport locally and overseas, and operate charter flights including assisting the Government in bringing Australians home.”
Flights will be suspended from April 10.
In an email written to staff and sighted by Executive Traveller, Virgin Australia’s Chief Operations Officer Stuart Aggs said the suspension on flights will remain in place until June 15.
“Since our last capacity reduction announcement we have seen demand all but dry up, and our load factors are very low,” Mr Aggs said.
“As you know, we are doing everything we can to preserve our cash balance, and given we are seeing little to no demand on our existing skeleton schedule, it is appropriate that we reduce our capacity further.”
This announcement comes after Virgin Australia requested a rescue package of up to $1.4 billion from the government.
Last month the airline announced it would suspend all international flights for two and a half months from March 30 to June 14.
This was in response to the government-imposed travel restrictions.
Virgin Australia boss Paul Scurrah warned the nation cannot afford to emerge from the pandemic with just a monopoly airline.
“We are not looking for a bailout,” he said in an interview with The Australian.
“We are asking the government for a bridging facility and working with them to make sure there is confidence that people can look forward with certainty that there will be a competitive and robust airline industry coming out of the crisis.”
However, it appears the
Morrison government appears to have ruled out any further support for the aviation sector, having already piled millions of dollars into an industry that has suffered at the hands of coronavirus.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack insists he wants all of Australia’s airlines to come through the other side of the pandemic.
“We realise it’s going to be very, very tough for them. COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on regional, domestic and international travel and we want to make sure that our aviation industry is protected,” he told parliament on Wednesday.
“That’s why the federal government is providing and has provided more than a billion dollars of support for aviation.”