The company announced its new, low-cost business model today saying the jobs lost would be “primarily across the operations functions and corporate roles”.
“While devastating for our people, making these changes now will secure approximately 6000 jobs once market demand recovers, with potential to reach 8000 in the future,” chief executive Paul Scurrah said.
The Tigerair brand will be scrapped and the company will move to an all-Boeing 737 fleet for domestic and short-haul operations. That will mean the end of ATR, Boeing 777, Airbus 330 and Tigerair Airbus A320 aircraft. It will also shift its headquarters from Bowen Hills to South Bank.
Scurrah said Virgin 2 would not be a low-cost carrier but a “best value carrier”. It will continue to chase the corporate market and compete against Qantas. It will continue its regional routes when demand returns.
The company intends to eventually start long-haul international flights claiming it was an important part of the business. It will restart its Los Angeles and Tokyo services when demand resumes.
Code sharing to other long haul destinations would continue.
“The Tigerair brand will be discontinued in the market as there is not sufficient customer demand to support two brands at this time,” Scurrah said.
But it will keep Tigerair’s operator certification to retain the option for a future “ultra-low-cost carrier”. Domestic lounges will be maintained.
Scurrah said it would take at least three years for the short-haul international and domestic market to return to pre-COVID levels.
But there was also a chance it would take longer and Virgin had to make the changes to ensure it was successful.
“Even when we do see a return to pre-COVID levels of travel, successful airlines will be influenced by demand and look very different than the way they did previously, requiring long-term capital, a lower cost base and more focused on providing exceptional experiences through a combination of great people and world-class technologies,” Scurah said.
“Our initial focus will be on investing in the core Virgin Australia domestic and short-haul international operation alongside out 10 million member strong Velocity Frequent Flyer program.”
The company will also carry out a supplier contract review.
“The group will emerge from voluntary administration with a strong balance sheet worthy of an investment grade rating, providing resilience and future growth potential,” Scurrah said.
“The group’s people have shown extraordinary resilience during this uncertain period and the focus now is to preserve as many jobs in the immediate term as possible while building a business that is healthy and sustainable for decades.
All travel credits and frequent flyer points will be carried forward under the Bain ownership.
Creditors of Virgin will have to approve the restructure and purchase by Bain. Virgin collapsed earlier this year with debts of about $7 billion.
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