Virgin Australia will cut 3000 jobs and discontinue its budget Tiger Air brand as part of relaunch plans under its new ownership structure.
Virgin and its new owners Bain Capital says the plan will help re-establish Virgin Australia as an “iconic Australian airline.”
The airline has warned that demand for travel, both domestic and short-haul international is likely to to take at least three years, and possibly longer, to return to levels pre-COVID-19.
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“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,” Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah said.
“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.”
Virgin expects to retain around 6000 thousand jobs with approximately 3000 to go, but hopes to be able to grow its workforce to 8000 once demand for travel returns.
Mr Scurrah said the airline’s position and the coronavirus pandemic meant that “tough decisions” had to be made.
Affected employees have been promised all their entitlements and will be given a two-year extension to staff travel 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 will also streamline its fleet, becoming an all-Boeing 737 fleet.
It will get rid of its ATR, Boeing 777, Airbus A330 and Airbus A320 aircraft used by Tiger.
The Tiger Air brand will disappear with Virgin saying there is not enough demand in the market to support two carriers.
The airline says it remains committed to long-haul international flight in the future, but its services to Los Angeles and Tokyo will remain suspended indefinitely due to the pandemic.
The company will also move its corporate headquarters to Southbank in Brisbane.