Virgin Australia has cancelled all domestic flights except one for the foreseeable future as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The major airline will only run one Sydney-Melbourne return service per day, in addition to cargo and charter flights, blaming a huge decline in passengers and “government restrictions” for the drastic measure.
“As a result of Government restrictions, less people are travelling and we have made changes to our schedules to reflect this,” a Virgin Australia spokesperson told 10 News First.
“We continue to operate a daily service between Melbourne and Sydney, provide cargo transport locally and overseas, and operate charter flights including assisting the Government in bringing Australians home.”
As of Friday April 10 (Good Friday), all other domestic flights, including those from the company’s operational headquarters in Brisbane, will be suspended indefinitely.
According to Executive Traveller, the reduced schedule will be in place until at least Monday June 15 as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the travel and tourism industries.
“If you a hold a ticket for travel up to June 30, 2020, you can change your booking or request a travel credit without a change or cancellation fee. Fare and tax differences may apply,” a statement on the Virgin Australia website reads.
“Guests who have booked flights on a suspended service will be contacted via email, prioritised by departure date, with alternative travel options.”
The announcement comes as Virgin Australia called for a $1.4 billion bail-out from the federal government to protect the major airline from irreparable financial damage.