No guarantee Virgin jobs losses will stop at 3000

VIRGIN Australia will sack 3000 workers, trim its aircraft fleet and dump Tigerair as part of a major overhaul of the airline by its new American owner.

The Queensland carrier announced this morning 3000 employees would leave the company in another significant blow to the aviation industry.

It is expected the 3000 losses will be spread across operations and corporate roles.

Redundancy consultation with workers began this morning, but Virgin Australia managing director Paul Scurrah said he couldn't "guarantee it's going to be capped at 3000".

"This is an industry that is in constant crisis at the moment," he said.

"This is another very big and devastating decision."

He insisted Virgin Australia would remain a two-cabin carrier to prevent Qantas having free rein on Australia's business class travel.

"The last thing this country wants… is a monopoly in any case," he said.

"Virgin Australia aims to be the best value carrier in the market, not a low-cost carrier.

Virgin will employ 6000 workers when the market recovers with plans to grow to 8000 in the future.

The group will move to an all-Boeing 737 fleet for domestic and short-haul operations, which will see the removal of the Boeing 777, Airbus A330 and Tigerair Airbus A320 fleet.

It plans to eventually return to international flying, however long-haul flights will remain suspended until demand returns.

Mr Scurrah said the changes would allow the airline to re-emerge stronger and more competitive under Bain Capital.

"Our aviation and tourism sectors face continued uncertainty in the face of COVID-19 with many Australian airports recording passenger numbers less than three per cent of last year and ongoing changes to government travel restrictions," he said.

"Working with Bain Capital, we will accelerate our plan to deliver a strong future in a challenging domestic and global aviation market.

"We believe that over time we can set the foundations to grow Virgin Australia again and re-employ many of the highly skilled Virgin Australia team."

Bain Capital Managing Director Mike Murphy said his team had worked closely with Virgin's management team "to develop this strategy together for a stronger, more profitable and competitive Virgin Australia".

"Virgin has a great management team led by Paul Scurrah," he said.

"We reaffirm that we are backing Paul to successfully lead Virgin through the current turbulence and into the future."

Mr Scurrah reiterated the airline's pledge to honour Velocity Points and travel credits.

He flagged the potential for new alliances with international airlines to allow Velocity members to grow the "earn and burn" potential of points.

No date has been set for the re-opening of domestic lounges.

Originally published as No guarantee Virgin jobs losses will stop at 3000