Virgin Australia said on Monday that it would reduce capacity on its network by around 25% for the remainder of January and February due to reduced demand for travel and the need to isolate staff as the number of cases of COVID-19 increase in Australia.
According to the details, the airline has cut a quarter of its flights for the remainder of January and February 2022, as the increase in cases of the Omicron variant disrupts the availability of employees and crew in the country. Low travel demand is also another factor in the airline’s decision to downsize.
The airline suspended nine domestic routes, as well as its only international service to Fiji, and reduced the number of flights on some other routes. The airline, which competes with Qantas Airways Ltd, earlier said it would cut some flight frequencies and suspend 10 routes temporarily.
Australia surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases on Monday, more than half of them recorded last week, as the Omicron variant swept through most of the country, increasing the number of hospitalizations and putting pressure on supply chains.
“Although we don’t know when this wave will pass, we do know that as we make the shift to living with COVID-19, there will continue to be changes in all our lives,” said Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka in a statement.
“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to any guest impacted by the changes to our flight schedule during this time.”
The airline said in November it would add seven more Boeing 737 aircrafts to its fleet, nearly restoring it to pre-pandemic levels, to help meet the goal of gaining a one-third share of the travel market.
Hrdlicka also told local media on January 10, 2022, that Virgin Australia “remains focused on growing its network and consumer reach and will resume services as soon as travel demand improves.”
“Virgin Australia has been working hard to grow to 33% domestic market share with a travel experience that Australia knows and loves. We are well positioned for future growth and success, and we will continue to be flexible and adaptable as circumstances require,” added Hrdlicka.
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