Virgin Australia to cut capacity by 25% as COVID-19 cases rise
- Travel demand down, staff being required to isolate
- Will cut frequencies, suspend 10 routes temporarily
- Australia experiencing Omicron-driven surge in cases
SYDNEY, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Virgin Australia said on Monday it would reduce capacity across its network by around 25% for the rest of January and for February due to reduced travel demand and staff being required to isolate as COVID-19 case numbers rise in Australia.
The airline, which competes against Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX), said it would cut some flight frequencies and suspend 10 routes temporarily.
Australia on Monday surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases, with more than half of them recorded in the past week, as the Omicron variant ripped through most of the country driving up hospitalisation numbers and putting a strain on supply chains.
Virgin Australia Chief Executive Jayne Hrdlicka said the surge in COVID-19 cases had affected customer confidence.
"Virgin Australia remains focused on growing its network and consumer reach and will resume services as soon travel demand improves," she said in a statement.
The airline said in November it would add seven more Boeing Co (BA.N) 737 NG planes to its fleet, nearly restoring it to pre-pandemic levels, to help meet a goal of obtaining a one-third share of Australia's domestic travel market.
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