Virgin Australia will axe almost 3,000 jobs and discontinue the low-cost Tigerair Australia brand, as new owners Bain Capital look to revive the embattled airline.
As the airline emerges from voluntary administration, group CEO and managing director Paul Scurrah has outlined a six-point plan to “re-establish Virgin Australia as an iconic Australian airline”.
“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, which means as a business we must make changes to ensure the Virgin Australia Group is successful in this new world,” he said.
As part of the changes, the group will move to an all-Boeing 737 mainline fleet to focus on domestic and short haul operations, removing its ATR, Boeing 777, Airbus A330 and Tigerair Airbus A320 aircraft.
The Tigerair brand will be discontinued due to insufficient customer demand, however its Air Operator Certificate will be retained, giving Virgin the option to re-establish an ultra-low-cost carrier in the future.
As a result, Virgin estimates 3,000 jobs will be impacted, primarily across the operations functions and corporate roles.
Scurrah said these changes will secure approximately 6,000 jobs once market demand recovers, with potential to increase to 8,000 jobs in the future.
“To those that leave the business, I want to thank them for the role they’ve played in making this a great airline,” he said.
“They will be closely supported through our alumni program, have all their entitlements honoured and be provided with a two-year extension of employee travel benefits and early access to retiree and long service benefits.”
The airline also plans to “invest significantly” in a digital re-platforming of both the airline and Velocity Frequent Flyer program.