Virgin Australia says it will double domestic capacity by early July as state border restrictions ease and demand grows, joining rival Qantas in adding a significant number of flights.
Virgin, the country’s second-biggest carrier, entered voluntary administration in April, owing nearly $7 billion to creditors, but has been flying a limited government-supported network during the coronavirus pandemic that has decimated travel.
The airline is also introducing a range of additional coronavirus safety measures, which will be introduced for all flights by June 12.
These include pre-departure questionnaires and health screening of passengers, contactless check-in, new boarding and disembarkation processes, more regular aircraft cleaning, and “expanded social distancing measures”.
Popular routes like Sydney-Perth, Brisbane-Perth, Brisbane-Canberra and Brisbane-Adelaide will all return to Virgin Australia’s schedule by early July.
The airline said it would add 30,000 seats across 320 one-way flights per week to its schedule, boosting capacity to around 13 per cent of normal from the current 6 per cent.
Qantas last week said it would triple domestic capacity to 15 per cent of normal by the end of June by adding more than 300 return flights per week.
Meanwhile, binding offers for Virgin Australia from finalists Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Management are due on June 22.
Administrator Deloitte has said it hopes to agree a deal with the winner by the end of the month ahead of a second meeting of creditors in August to vote on approval.