Virgin Australia will cut its international flying capacity by 8 per cent, including its flights to Tokyo Haneda, Los Angeles and Auckland in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“As a largely domestic airline, we are less exposed to the impact on international travel, however we remain disciplined in our focus on managing capacity in response to forward bookings and continuing to reduce costs across the business,” said Virgin Australia Group CEO and managing director Paul Scurrah.

The airline will make the following changes to its international schedule:

  • Reduce its daily Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda service to three times per week from March 29 until May 3.
  • Reduce its daily Sydney-Los Angeles service to five times per week from early May to early June.
  • Reduce frequencies on Auckland-Melbourne service to daily from May and a temporary reduction on Auckland-Sydney services.
  • Cease its Auckland-Tonga service on May 1 and its Auckland-Rarotonga service on July 21.

Overall, the airline will further reduce Trans-Tasman services from 2.6 to 6 per cent.

The international changes follow the Group’s recent withdrawal from Hong Kong services.

Virgin Australia pulls plug on all Hong Kong routes amid coronavirus outbreak and protests

The carrier said guests with new or existing international bookings through to June 30 this year have the option to change their flight to a later date and/or to a different destination, without incurring any change fees.

It added that guests with any changes to their bookings will be contacted directly with alternative travel arrangements including refunds for any routes that the Group is no longer servicing.

Changes to domestic schedule

Virgin Australia will cut domestic capacity by 5 per cent for 2H20. This is an increase from the 3 per cent reduction it previously announced on February 26 this year “due to continued market softness and decreased demand and forward bookings”.

The Group said the following in a press release regarding its domestic routes: “Services that will be reduced are mainly on markets that have multiple daily frequencies, minimising disruption to guests”.

Enhanced cleaning measures onboard 

The Group said “while the overall risk in Australia of contracting Covid-19 in the community remains low”, it has taken steps to enhance protection on its flights.

One of these steps is cleaning all aircraft daily, ensuring that its crew maintain high hygiene standards on board, and equipping all flights with hand sanitiser and face masks.