Covid-19 coronavirus: Virgin Australia moves to close NZ operations

Virgin axes nearly every domestic flight and stands down 80 per cent of staff

Virgin Australia is slashing domestic flights by 90% and standing down 8,000 employees

The airline group, which is already suspending all global routes, is taking further measures and cutting most of its domestic flights as well.

Qantas and Virgin have suspended all worldwide routes and slashed domestic flights after Australia shut its borders to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Australia's consumer commission regulator stated Tuesday it was probing Qantas for alleged anti-aggressive conduct after its chief executive appeared to call for 'competitor Virgin Australia to be cut out of a large government bailout. Starting from midnight of March 27, it would temporarily cease flights to 19 Australian destinations now operated by Virgin Australia.

Virgin Australia guests who are booked to travel between now and June 30 2020 have been encouraged to visit the Virgin Australia customer care hub at virginaustralia.com to request a travel credit online or obtain more information about their options.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told Sky News last week that Australia's government should "not look after the badly managed companies which have been badly managed for 10 years" and should not nationalise Virgin if it falters.

The company would keep the connectivity to 17 Australian destinations to transport essential services, critical freight and logistics.

Virgin Australia, Australia's second-largest airline group, held a 37.7% capacity share of the country's domestic aviation market, as it was outlined in the company's investors presentation in 2019.

The airline will temporarily stand down approximately eight-thousand of its 10-thousand Australian workers until at least the end of May.

During the stand down, staff will be able to access accrued leave entitlements, but for many team members, leave without pay will be inevitable.

The suspension of most of Virgin domestic flying will take effect from midnight of March 27 until June 14.

Most domestic flights will be suspended from March 27 until June 14, while its previously announced worldwide ban will be in place from March 30 to June 14.

Mr Scurrah also said budget carrier Tigerair will suspend all flights effective immediately.

The statement came after escalating state border closures across Australia.

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