Tigerair Australia to be grounded permanently
In moves that Virgin Australia says is necessary to keep 6,000 of its employees in a job, the Australian airline has announced the closure of Tigerair Australia, its budget subsidiary, as well as the axing of 3,000 jobs.
Paul Scurrah, CEO of Virgin Australia, said, “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 at a business we must make changes to ensure the Virgin Australia Group is successful in this new world.”
The job cuts will affect about a third of the Brisbane-based airline’s workforce across cabin crew, ground crew, engineers, baggage handlers and some international head office staff.
Virgin Australia will also suspend all long-haul international flights and retire part of its fleet, with Australia’s borders likely to remain restricted into 2021.
Calling the decision to let 3,000 workers go “very tough”, Scurrah said the airline is committed to re-employ lost staff when recovery begins.
“Our intention is to secure approximately 6,000 jobs when the market recovers with aspirations for up to 8,000 in the future.”
Virgin Australia is not the only airline reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As travel restrictions continue to be in place in many countries, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts a 55% global decline in passenger numbers this year.
2021 is likely to see a marked improvement, although the IATA does not expect the global aviation industry to recover to post-pandemic levels until 2024.