More Than 10,000 Virgin Jobs Impacted After Airline Grounds All International Flights

Virgin Australia has suspended all international flights and ordered thousands of its staff to take leave, with planes to be grounded from March 30 to June 14.

The airline also announced up to 50 percent of its domestic flights will be suspended immediately.

The Virgin Australia Group said on Wednesday it would temporarily suspend flights following "expanded government travel restrictions and increased impacts from COVID-19 on travel demand."

"There is no doubt that the aviation sector is going through some tough times at present. We have seen some unprecedented situations occur recently and that calls for unprecedented decisions," CEO Paul Scurrah told reporters on Wednesday.

"It is too early to put a number on the exact impact of our people from a permanent perspective. It is fair to say that all 10,500 people that work for us right now will see some impact."



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The airline said it would work closely with the federal government to bring Australians home and return visitors despite facing a difficult economic situation.

"I can assure you, we have a willing and supportive workforce who know that there is tough decisions to be made," Scurrah said.

Image: AAP

"No-one wants it to happen. I am pleased that the people are willing to work with us, our wonderful people of the Virgin Australia Group are willing to work through this with us.

"We have responded by making tough decisions which include reducing our domestic capacity and phasing in the temporary suspension of international flying for a period of two and a half months."

It comes as the government announced several Australian airlines would be handed a $715 million federal government lifeline to help the sector through the coronavirus pandemic.

A range of government charges will be refunded and waived to help airlines under immense pressure as domestic and global travel plummets.

The government will forgo fuel excise, air service charges and regional security fees.



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The move is expected to create an upfront benefit of $159 million, with the government refunding charges paid since February 1.

Australia's airlines have been rocked by the virus, with massive cuts to services as economic shock ripples through the industry.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the package was designed to put Australia in the best position to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

"Our airlines run on tight budgets at the best of times and these past few weeks have been particularly tough," he said on Wednesday.

"I've been speaking with Australian airline executives every day and will continue to work with them to make sure they receive the support they need."

With AAP

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