Virgin Australia airline further cuts down domestic capacity

Virgin Australia grounds almost all domestic flights

Virgin axes nearly every domestic flight and stands down 80 per cent of staff

The airline on Wednesday said its domestic schedule would now be cut by 90 per cent, from last week's 50 per cent reduction and it would also suspend all flights of its low-priced Tigerair Australia service.

It follows an earlier announcement that it had suspended global flying and closed all Virgin Australia lounges.

The airline group, which is already suspending all worldwide routes, is taking further measures and cutting most of its domestic flights as well. Starting from midnight of March 27, it would temporarily cease flights to 19 Australian destinations now operated by Virgin Australia.

The company said Virgin Australia guests who are booked to travel between now and June 30 may be eligible to get travel credit.

"Despite the dramatic steps taken to respond to market conditions, we recognise our role as a key part of the nation's travel industry and will work with government to maintain vital domestic routes for the transportation of essential services, critical freight and logistics operations".

Previously, the group said it would suspend all worldwide flying starting from March 30.

Virgin Australia has stood down 80 per cent of its workforce, amid the coronavirus crisis and extensive Government travel bans.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, the airline said it would temporarily stand down 8,000 of its 10,000 workers. Many of them, according to the company, "leave without pay will be inevitable".

The airline said that state border closures escalating across Australia, the group had needed to take further action that will see the suspension of most of its domestic flying from midnight this Friday until June 14. The group has a fleet of 133 aircraft across the three airline brands, namely Virgin Australia, Virgin Australia Regional and Tigerair.

Most domestic flights will be suspended from March 27 until June 14, while its previously announced worldwide ban will be in place from March 30 to June 14.

The announcement was made on Wednesday when Virgin Australia issued a press statement outlining the cancellations.

Virgin Australia CEO and Managing Director Paul Scurrah described the situation as "the biggest grounding of aircraft in this country's history".

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