Virgin Australia today released more information about it plans to reorganize in bankruptcy. The airline will part with one-third of its employees (3,000), retire Tigerair-brand (will keep the AOC alive just in case), and will only keep one aircraft type.

The workhorse of the airline will be Boeing 737, and all other plane types such as Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 are returned to lessors. Virgin Australia plans to return to long-haul flying once the market recovers.

Sir Richard is sending all 3,000 fired employees an autographed photo of the Virgin Australia plane.

Key points:

• Plan for a stronger, more profitable and competitive Virgin Australia coming out of voluntary administration

• Focus on delivering exceptional experiences at great value with Virgin Australia’s core domestic and short-haul international business

• Virgin Australia to provide customers with the value of travel credits post administration with validity dates extended for bookings made prior to administration

• Resetting Virgin Australia to meet lower global and Australian demand, including:
– Reduction in cost base to meet sector uncertainty and COVID-19 market conditions
– Securing approximately 6,000 jobs when the market recovers with 3,000 roles impacted
– Simplified all-Boeing 737 mainline fleet and the retention of the regional and charter fleet, but removing ATR, Boeing 777, Airbus A330 and Tigerair Airbus A320 aircraft types.
– Long-haul international flying important part of plan but suspended until global travel market recovers
– Tigerair Australia brand discontinued with Air Operator Certificate (AOC) retained to provide option for ultra-low-cost operations when market recovers.
– Continued commitment to regional and charter flying.

5 August 2020: The Virgin Australia Group (ASX: VAH) has announced a plan for a stronger, more profitable and competitive business, building on its unique culture and securing approximately 6000 jobs as it prepares to exit voluntary administration under the ownership of Bain Capital.

CEO COMMENTARY

Virgin Australia Group CEO and Managing Director Paul Scurrah said together with Bain Capital, the plan will help to re-establish Virgin Australia as an iconic Australian airline, bringing strong competition for travellers while securing approximately 6,000 direct jobs and indirect employment for more than 30,000 Australians.

“Our aviation and tourism sectors face continued uncertainty in the face of COVID-19 with many Australian airports recording passenger numbers less than three per cent of last year and ongoing changes to government travel restrictions,” said Mr Scurrah.

“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.

“In a country as big as Australia, strong competitive airlines are critical in helping restore the economy, which is why in the face of the worst crisis our industry has ever seen, a well-capitalised Virgin Australia Group with a solid and sustainable future is a great outcome for Australians and the nation’s economy.

“Even when we do see a return to pre-COVID-19 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 be more focused on providing exceptional experiences through a combination of great people and world class technologies.

“Working with Bain Capital, we will accelerate our plan to deliver a strong future in a challenging domestic and global aviation market. We believe that over time we can set the foundations to grow Virgin Australia again and re-employ many of the highly skilled Virgin Australia team.

“Our initial focus will be on investing in the core Virgin Australia domestic and short-haul international operation alongside our 10-million-member strong Velocity Frequent Flyer program, continuing to offer an extensive network of destinations, a domestic lounge network and value for money for customers.

“Bain Capital recognises the importance of Virgin Australia’s loyal customers, and that’s why they will be provided the value of their travel credits post administration with validity significantly extended to ensure they have plenty of opportunity to book tickets to their favourite destinations.

“While these changes are important to manage the impact of COVID-19, they involve some very tough decisions. We expect approximately 3,000 roles will be impacted as a result of the changes announced today. However, our intention is to secure approximately 6,000 jobs when the market recovers with aspirations for up to 8,000 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. They will be closely supported…

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