The carrier, which has been taken over by Bain Capital, says its plan to cut costs, shed aircraft and refocus on domestic and short-haul international travel means it can’t support more than 6000 jobs.
“While these changes are important to manage the impact of COVID-19, they involve some very tough decisions,” Virgin Australia chief executive and managing director Paul Scurrah said on Wednesday.
“We expect approximately 3000 jobs will be impacted as a result of the changes.”
Scurrah also announced Virgin’s low-cost offshoot Tigerair will be shut down due to a lack of customer demand but it may consider resurrecting a similarly positioned carrier in the future.
Meanwhile, Virgin will streamline its fleet by shedding its Boeing 777s, Airbus A330s, Tigerair Airbus A320s.
It will retain the Boeing 737s and regional and charter aircraft.
The airline will concentrate on its core Australian domestic and short-haul international operations and supplier contracts will be reviewed as part of an overall cost-cutting mission.
“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,” Scurrah said.
The Australian Services Union said its members were devastated at the decision to cut jobs after months of effort to keep as many workers employed as possible.
“Ultimately the company’s plan still sees a staggering number of job losses and cripples the industry – it’s shattering for workers and will be a huge skill drain for aviation,” said union assistant national secretary Linda White.
“This is absolutely devastating for Virgin workers – about one in three workers will be made unemployed at the height of this crisis when it is hardest to find work.
“It is only because of the hard work of the union in the past few months during the administration process that workers are guaranteed their entitlements in full.
“We will continue to work every hour of every day to preserve as many jobs as possible –starting with our meetings with the company today.
“As the new owners of Virgin, Bain needs to uphold all their commitments on how the airline will run – we will be making that clear in discussions today and in the coming weeks.”
White said the Federal Government’s decision not to provide targeted government support to the industry in recent months played a big part in the outcome.
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