Virgin Blue confirms capacity cuts
Virgin Blue has revised its Australian domestic schedule following the descheduling of five Boeing 737 aircraft from 7 May 2009. The airline said the capacity reduction equated to the removal of 28 flights daily from a total of more than 330 domestic daily services.
The airline has not withdrawn from any markets but has conducted a thorough review to identify high frequency routes where projected traffic flows could bear a temporary consolidation of capacity. The airline will contact passengeres whose bookings may be affected to ensure any changes are advised and inconvenience minimised.
Virgin Blue announced its intention to remove this further 8% of annualised capacity from Australian domestic flying for 2009/2010 on 17 February 2009. The airline says the reductions are a prudent interim capacity management plan due to continued and forecast deterioration in domestic demand. The aircraft will be managed as operational spares and will not be redeployed into scheduled service for at least 12 months.
The capacity reduction potentially affects up to 400 full-time equivalent positions at Virgin Blue. The company has been exploring a range of options to minimise job losses including leave without pay, transfers to new international airline V Australia, shorter hours, job sharing and other initiatives.
“We have been very open with our team, outlining in a realistic manner the current operating environment and what we have to do to keep our business sustainable during economic downturn,” said Virgin Blue chief executive officer Brett Godfrey. “We are very encouraged by the attitude of people. All in our business appreciate that we must remain vigilant and continue to adjust to changing market conditions. If that means we must implement further austerity measures, we will do that in order to keep our business strong.”