Virgin Australia will donate thousands of sought-after toilet paper rolls to charity following a “mass shortage of toilet paper throughout Australia” in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Virgin Australia has today flipped April Fool’s Day on its head, turning the airline’s annual prank into a reality,” the airline said in a statement posted on its website.
The Australian carrier, which has cancelled all international flights and cut its domestic capacity by 90 per cent amid the pandemic, said it will “rescue” the much-needed toilet paper rolls from 125 of its grounded aircraft and storage facilities.
The airline will then donate the rolls to vulnerable members of the community through the airline’s community partners, including The Salvation Army.
Panic buying toilet paper has become rife in several countries as the coronavirus continues to spread, prompting consumers to stockpile goods like toilet paper. The BBC reported earlier this month that supermarket shelves in Australia were “cleared in minutes”, forcing one chain to enforce a four-pack buying limit for those purchasing toilet paper.
The report also said authorities are stressing that there is no shortage of toilet paper in Australia since most of the nation’s rolls are made locally.
Virgin Australia’s general manager of product and customer, Sarah Adam, said there is a lot of toilet paper not being used, and the airline wants to ease some of the stress that so many Australians are currently facing.
“Each year our passengers use enough toilet paper to stretch from Sydney to Los Angeles, so we’re thrilled that in true Virgin spirit, we’re going to help the elderly, the vulnerable, medical staff, and our charity partners, by giving them the supply of toilet paper that’s currently locked-up in our grounded aircraft and storage facilities throughout Australia,” she said.
Kleenex will also match the donation for every toilet paper roll that’s rescued, the carrier said.
“It’s so wonderful to see such a strong community spirit in the team at Virgin Australia. The Salvation Army will ensure any donation of toilet paper reaches the older and vulnerable people in our communities during this unprecedented time of need,” said Major Bruce Harmer, a spokesperson from The Salvation Army.
Virgin Australia will continue to operate a limited schedule of domestic services for the transportation of essential services, critical freight, government operations, and to support guests who may need to travel interstate for critical roles or compassionate reasons.
The airline’s international operations are scheduled to resume on June 14.