Virgin Australia has moved to stop flying to nine destinations as it continues its post-coronavirus restructure.

Key points:

  • Regional flights to Uluru, Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Albury, Hervey Bay, Cloncurry, Mount Isa and Mildura have been affected
  • The route from Sydney to Tonga will only be axed
  • The airline went into voluntary administration in April and was bought by US private equity firm Bain Capital on Friday

The airline today announced it would scrap regional flights to Uluru, Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Albury, Hervey Bay, Cloncurry, Mount Isa and Mildura for the “foreseeable future”.

Additionally, its international service from Sydney to Tonga will not be resuming.

In a statement, a Virgin Australia spokesperson says it is not commercially viable to operate flights to the affected destinations with the expected demand.

The airline is restructuring its fleet to primarily use Boeing 737 aircraft, removing smaller planes commonly flown to regional destinations.

The announcement follows the company entering into voluntary administration in April during which time it ceased flights to these destinations due to subdued demand.

One third of its workforce was made redundant.

Flight school dropped

In March this year, Virgin Australia pulled out of its plans for a flight training school in Tamworth, citing changed conditions within the industry as a result of the Australian bushfires and coronavirus, with no forecast for increased demand for new cadet pilots.

The Tamworth Regional Council commercial director for airport and aviation development, John Sommerlad, says Virgin’s decision to cease its Tamworth to Sydney route is not surprising.

“It wasn’t unexpected in view of the turbulent ride that the Virgin Australia Aviation Group has had in recent time,” he said.

“And also because of the impact the pandemic has had on airlines — not only in Australia but around the world.

“Without those aircrafts it’s unviable for them to use bigger jets to come and go from ports like Tamworth.”

Mr Sommerlad says Tamworth is currently in talks with other carriers to service the Tamworth-Sydney route.

Last week, United States private equity firm Bain Capital was announced as the new owner of Virgin Australia, with the largest group of creditors voting in favour of the $3.5 billion sale.

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By admin