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

·1 min read
A Virgin Australia Airlines plane is seen at Kingsford Smith International Airport after Australia implemented an entry ban on non-citizens and non-residents due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney

SYDNEY (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, 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 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.

(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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