No overseas flights for ‘a few years’
Virgin chief executive officer Paul Scurrah says there may be no return to overseas flights for the airline for up to three years after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the travel industry.
The airline announced on Wednesday the Tigerair discount airline would be axed and 3000 jobs would be lost across the company as part of its relaunch under administrators Bain Capital.
Long-haul flights have also been put on hold for the foreseeable future.
Mr Scurrah told 2GB making the cuts had been a "heartbreaking" addition to an already "sad year" for the airline and aviation industry, but there had been no other way forward for the business.
"We do aspire to fly long haul again, we just can't see it coming back in the next few years," he said.
Those working for Virgin in international flights, the Tigerair brand and in regional areas are most likely to feel the weight of the cuts, with staff being offered voluntary redundancy packages first.
Mr Scurrah said he hoped to be able to invite about 2000 staff back when the industry had recovered from the pandemic, which has forced many countries to shut their borders and all but put an end to international travel.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Mr Scurrah revealed many Australian airports were recording passenger numbers of less than 3 per cent than the same time last year.
Customers who had flights booked with Virgin that they are no longer able to take will receive a credit with the airline, guaranteed by Bain Capital, to be used on any Virgin service up to June 2023.
"The industry will be well up and running by then, in our view, and that provides the opportunity for people to get the value they have in their tickets," Mr Scurrah said on Thursday.
Originally published as No overseas flights for 'a few years'