Two days after announcing the increase of frequency from Sydney and popular Queensland destinations such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Hamilton Island and Brisbane as well as between Sydney and Melbourne, Virgin Australia will suspend all flights to New Zealand, Bali and Fiji until at least June due to ongoing uncertainty about when international travel can resume, after Australia’s top health chief has dashed hopes that the rollout of the vaccine will allow people to travel overseas this year.
Virgin announced yesterday all short-haul international services would be cancelled until June 19.
This covers flights to New Zealand, Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu.
Virgin’s decision comes after the federal government decided to halt the travel bubble with New Zealand after the detection of a locally acquired case of COVID-19.
“Because of ongoing international border closures and government restrictions, it is likely to be an extended period of time before we’re able to appropriately resume short-haul international flying,” a spokesman said.
“We are hopeful that countries will develop safe-travel zones but need to be realistic considering operational limitations and the uncertainty around frameworks that support the sensible opening and closing of borders.”
Customers impacted by cancelled flights will be contacted and have the ability to re-book or seek reimbursement.
Domestic flights have also been impacted by state border closures over the summer, including the recent border lockdown in Western Australia.
The coronavirus pandemic has crippled the aviation and travel industry.
The airline entered voluntary administration in March with private equity firm Bain Capital acquiring the company for restructure in order to make it profitable.
The Qantas Group has not announced any changes to its operating schedule regarding short-haul international journeys.
Edited by Joe Cusmano