Virgin in a bind over thousands of jobs as Qantas cuts fares

Virgin has rejected claims that it has plans to sack thousands more workers when the JobKeeper subsidy ends in March.

Feb 08, 2021, updated Feb 08, 2021
Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka has revealed her personal tragedy after the death of her husband. (File image).

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka has revealed her personal tragedy after the death of her husband. (File image).

But that doesn’t mean it won’t or that it has ruled it out.

The company has already shed 3000 workers and still has about 6000 on its books, but about half are on JobKeeper and the company cannot guarantee those jobs will survive after the subsidy is axed.

While the company said it was not something it planned or that the idea had been floated, it also stressed that the tourism industry was in a dire situation and no one in the sector was able to forecast what was going to happen.

Virgin is currently operating at about 35 per cent capacity and had planned to be at 60 per cent at this point, however, snap state border closures have made planning a nightmare for many Australian travellers.

Qantas has moved to address the uncertainty by extending its no-change fee and a 1 million-seat fare sale to 55 locations from $99. Among the cheap flights was Brisbane to Cairns from $124.

Qantas Group chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said the best way to drive tourism was by making it even easier for Australians to explore their own backyard.

“Customers have told us that sudden changes to border restrictions by state governments are giving them second thoughts about going on holidays or taking a business trip,” Tully said.

“By giving customers unlimited flight date changes for almost a year, we think it will encourage more people to book, helping to boost tourism which is so vital to local economies and businesses around the country.”

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