Virgin Australia cuts capacity by 25% as COVID-19 cases rise

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Virgin Australia plane is seen at Kingsford Smith International Airport after Australia imposed an entry ban on non-citizens and non-residents aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney.

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Virgin Australia said on Monday it will shut down the entire rest of January and February as travel demand dwindles and staff need to quarantine as the number of COVID-19 cases in Australia rises. The capacity of the network is reduced by about 25%.

The airline, which competes with Qantas Limited, said it would cut some flight frequencies and temporarily suspend 10 routes.

Australia surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases on Monday, More than half of them were recorded in the past week, as the Omicron variant swept through much of the country, leading to higher hospitalizations and straining supply chains.

Virgin Australia chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said the surge in COVID-19 cases had affected customer confidence.

“Virgin Australia remains focused on expanding its network and consumer reach and will resume service as soon as travel demand improves,” she said in a statement.

The airline said in November it would add seven more Boeing (NYSE: ) Co 737 NG planes to its fleet, nearly restoring it to pre-pandemic levels to help gain a third of Australia’s domestic travel market. a share of the target.

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