Travel News

Virgin Aust Suspends Sydney-Nadi Flights From Jan 24 As Omicron Affects Crew

“Virgin Australia is dedicated to the communities that we serve and will resume these flights as soon as possible,” Virgin chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said in a statement.
14 Jan 2022 11:40
Virgin Aust Suspends Sydney-Nadi Flights From Jan 24 As Omicron Affects Crew
Virgin said COVID isolation requirements have wreaked havoc on crew availability.

From January 24, Virgin Australia will suspend its only international route, Sydney-Nadi, as Omicron COVID-19 outbreak disrupts its crew.

Nine other routes within the island continent’s states will also be suspended.

 

The routes Virgin will suspend are:

  • Sydney – Fiji
  • Adelaide – Darwin
  • Adelaide – Cairns
  • Adelaide – Sunshine Coast
  • Coffs Harbour – Melbourne
  • Hamilton Island – Melbourne
  • Sydney – Townsville
  • Melbourne – Townsville
  • Gold Coast – Launceston
  • Gold Coast – Hobart

The airline said it would operate at reduced frequency on busy routes and temporarily suspend 10 routes from late January, as it continues to lose staff who are forced into isolation due to COVID-19 rules.

“Virgin Australia is dedicated to the communities that we serve and will resume these flights as soon as possible,” Virgin chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said in a statement.

“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.”

“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to any guest impacted by the changes to our flight schedule during this time.”

Virgin said it welcomed moves by the NSW and Queensland governments to allow some essential workers who are close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases to leave isolation early.

It was working with governments to have that extended to aviation workers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday he had sent a plan for reducing isolation requirements for critical supply chain workers to the national cabinet for endorsement, to ensure supermarkets can keep their shelves stocked. Mr Morrison said he expected the exemption would be extended to other critical sectors, including aviation, by Thursday.

 

Alternative services

Virgin said that in the majority of cases, customers whose flights had been cancelled would be moved on to alternative services.

The significant reduction of services is a setback for Virgin as it plots a recovery from the first two years of the pandemic.

Virgin went into administration in April 2020, prompting it to lay off around 3000 employees, or a third of its workforce, and cut its mainline fleet to 58 planes.

But the carrier, now owned by private equity giant Bain Capital, has previously laid out plans to rebuild its fleet to 84 aircraft and return to pre-pandemic levels of flying this year.

Ms Hrdlicka said on Monday that the airline “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 into 33 per cent domestic market share with a travel experience that Australia knows and loves,” she said.

“We are well-placed for future growth and success, and will continue to be flexible and adaptable as circumstances require.”

A Qantas spokesman said crew availability had not had a major impact on its operations to date, other than needing to cancel some Jetstar flights in the first week of January. The vast majority of passengers were put on other flights within a few hours of their original departure time, he said.

Rex Airlines said it had not cancelled any flights due to COVID-related staff shortages.

Feedbackmaraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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