Virgin Australia has this morning cancelled all international flights between June 15 and August 9, although the airline says it will continue domestic flights until at least mid-July.
The airline, which has been in administration since April 21 and is now searching for a new owner, this morning advised travel agents of the schedule changes.
Virgin's 'minimum domestic network' introduced on April 17 under a Government subsidy arrangement will be extended "for the period 15 June – 12 July 2020".
This saw the airline flying 64 return services each week, mainly between capital cities but also to several regional destinations in Queensland and Western Australia.
"We have updated our domestic schedule from 15 June to 12 July to align with expected demand due to the continuing travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19," an airline spokesperson confirmed to Executive Traveller.
"Discussions with the Federal Government regarding any underwritten support for these services are continuing. We intend to continue operating the minimal schedule currently in place and we’ll make any further adjustments as required and update guests accordingly."
However, given the current restrictions on international travel, all overseas flights – even to near-neighbours such as New Zealand, which could soon reopen to Australians as part of a 'trans-Tasman travel bubble' – have been scrapped, and all passenger bookings for those flights are now cancelled.
"Due to the large number of speculative bookings being held, and the potential for excessive volumes of forfeited no-shows, all bookings held over this period have been cancelled," the airline's note to travel agents explained.
"Tickets issued on or before 20 April 2020 are eligible for a conditional credit," the airline said, referring to restricted travel vouchers now being offered through the airline's administrators in place of cash refunds or regular travel bank vouchers.
However, these credits come with a caveat: they're valid only while Virgin Australia remains in administration, and there is no guarantee they would be honoured by the airline’s new owners.
Lead administrator Vaughan Strawbridge of Deloitte has observed that these credits are all about preserving “as much goodwill associated with the Virgin brand and business as possible for a buyer.”
The Virgin Australia spokesman told Executive Traveller that "any affected guests will be contacted directly with information about their options and we’ll continue to assess demand and flights as travel restrictions ease."