Virgin Australia and Tiger are cutting more flights, as the coronavirus and falling demand are expected to cost the airlines up to $75 million

Virgin and Tigerair are reducing their flights. (Photo by Steve Christo/Corbis via Getty Images)

Virgin is slashing more flights.

Virgin Australia will be reducing its flights in the second half of 2020 as the coronavirus impacts demand on domestic and international flights.

Virgin Australia is reducing its overall network capacity by 3%, including a 3% reduction in domestic flights and a short term reduction in flight capacity across the Tasman. The cuts are expected to cost the company between $50 and $75 million during the 2020 financial year.

Virgin’s changes are mainly on leisure destinations where there is low demand, and on routes where both Virgin and its subsidiary, Tigerair, operate.

It comes after the airline ended its flights between Australia and Hong Kong amid the coronavirus and protests in the country.

Virgin Australia Group CEO and Managing Director, Paul Scurrah said in a statement the fleet and network changes will help the company improve its financial performance.

“There’s no doubt we are operating in a tough market, and we need to make sure our capacity deployment is disciplined to ensure our routes are profitable for our business,” he said. “Coronavirus is having a significant impact on the travel industry and these changes will help us manage the changes we’re seeing in demand.”

Tigerair is axing five “unprofitable routes” within Australia. From April 27 2020, Tigerair is ending its Melbourne to Coffs Harbour, Sydney to Coffs Harbour, Adelaide to Sydney and Sydney to Cairns routes. It will cut its Hobart to Gold Coast route from April 28.

Tigerair is also reducing the frequency of its flights on existing routes. Those who have already booked affected flights will be switched to other Tigerair flights if possible or Virgin flights.

Tigerair is also getting rid of nine A320 aircraft as the company transitions to an all Boeing 737 fleet.

“We maintain a very strong network of more than 450 destinations between us and our partners and, whilst we have made some announcements to manage costs today, we are as focused as ever on continuing to deliver a great experience for our customers,” Scurrah added.

Other airlines have also reduced flights

Virgin’s move comes after Qantas, Jestar and Air New Zealand announced cuts to their flight routes.

Qantas will reduce its Asia capacity by at least 16% until the end of May, affecting flights between Australia and mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Tigerair meanwhile is cutting its Asia capacity by 14%, impacting flights from Australia to Japan and Thailand, as well as intra-Asia flights.

Air New Zealand will reduce its capacity across Asia by 17% between February and June. The airline will also suspend its services to Seoul from 7 March until the end of June as it waits to see how the coronavirus is contained.


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