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Keep Virgin Australia in the Skies

FlyerAus

Newbie
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
6
Hi, I’m a Velocity member and an Airline Pilot with Virgin Australia. Below are a couple of petitions that would help Virgin Australia keep competition alive in Australian skies.

Many governments around the world are chipping in for their major carriers, acknowledging the particularly tough time they are transiting with COVID-19. We believe both Qantas and Virgin need assistance through this time.

There has been significant misinformation in the press about how Virgin is run. From the inside, like all large organisations, it’s not without its faults. When it comes to what matters to an Airline Pilot, I can tell you it’s an organisation that has safety and maintenance standards as an absolute unwavering top priority. Beyond our door, the obsession is customer service. What you have seen to date, is 20 years worth of work that is built on day by day. Thousands of reports from all staff and customers are continually collated and used when shaping policy and customer experience improvements.

The new CEO Paul Scurrah was brought in 18 months ago to streamline the operation and cut inefficiency that had built up over years of change and rapid growth. He hit the ground running when he was nearly immediately presented with the B737 MAX-8 crashes. He renegotiated leases and pushing back the deliveries to deliver strong outcomes for the balance sheet but also to allow the dust to settle and let the revised model be tested in service around the world before welcoming it into our fleet. Since then he has cut significant inneficiency in the organisation. This has not been without pain for many staff including Pilots. Despite this, his live all staff teleconferences are met with hundreds if not thousands of likes or supportive comments. Staff have rallied behind their leader and its not uncommon in the last few weeks for staff members to offer to come in and work for free to help the company though the tough times. He has refused these offers on both moral and legal grounds. The CEO has made it very clear to all staff we are not anti Qantas, indeed he is advocating for industrywide support.

In short, we have had some balance sheet issues associated with rapid growth of our brand and network. These were necessary to expand into the corporate market. Significant measures were already underway when Covid-19 turned up. Virgin has massive plans for the future, this includes enhanced customer experience and a single fleet of Wide Body next generation aircraft. On the other side of covid, there may be opportunities for Virgin Australia to expand into previously untapped markets. The Narrow Body B737 fleet and Velocity are very profitable.

We need the government to help but what we really need is your help. Please sign our petitions and spread them as far as you can. Friends, relatives welcome to get involved!

I’ll answer any questions you have, keeping in mind, my expertise is the pointy end of the aircraft and airlines these days are much more than what we do. As we pilots say ‘hope to see you out on the line.’.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.


• Replacement Airline prospect

This would not become a reality for years. It is likely services would commence in cities, and services to regional towns would reduce if not be non-existent.

If Virgin collapses in the current environment, there is no third company already operating that can scale up, airfares will rise with a monopoly (as seen in Moranbah with a one-way ticket to Brisbane currently over $1,000), and further retard the economy’s ability to bounce back.

Virgin was operating when Ansett collapsed and was the third major player in the industry. It still took 12 years to get 70 aircraft operational. Since Virgin has entered the market, Australians have seen a 37% reduction in airfares.

It would take a new entrant at least a year to get a High Capacity Air Operators Certificate (AOC) approved by CASA before any aircraft could take passengers. This new entrant would likely struggle to compete with Qantas and would likely be a Low Cost Carrier (LCC) cherry picking profitable routes between cities, to the disadvantage of regional areas such as Albury, Mackay, Townsville, Port Macquarie, Mildura, Alice Springs and Darwin to name a few. The mining industry will have one airline to tender for their FIFO contracts and this LCC will more than likely be highly susceptible to price war attacks from Qantas, weakening their own ability to survive.

• Virgin’s part in the Australian Community

Virgin has played a major part in contributing to the Australian community. The airline has supported industries including the AFL, the Arts, Motorsport, Queensland Ballet and many charities including the Salvation Army. The airline adds $11 billion to the economy every year and support a further 600,000 people that work in hospitality and tourism.

• Airline pilot skill set

Given the specialist skills required to fly a commercial aircraft it is not easily transferable to another profession. It also takes several years to train a pilot and have them approved to fly a specific type of aircraft.

Sign the Petition

Virgin Australia brings competition to the Australian market, and competition keeps airfares affordable in Australia. But to keep bringing that competition, Virgin Australia needs the government’s assistance.
The COVID-19 induced economic crisis was not of Australia’s making, but it has been the decisions of the Australian government that have brought the multibillion dollar aviation sector to its knees in a few short months. No commentary here on whether the government’s decisions were right or wrong, but it is important to point out that it was not mismanagement that brought the airlines to this point of needing further government assistance to survive and recover. With the vast majority of aircraft now grounded, fixed costs are rapidly draining the airlines cash balances whilst the Coronavirus mitigation runs its course.
If Virgin Australia fails, it’s unlikely another will take its place. Consider this:
  • Where’s the money for a new airline? With airlines and economies being financially decimated worldwide, it’s unrealistic that anyone would commit new capital to an airline venture.
  • How long does it take to start a new airline? Safety is critical so it generally takes about 12 months to safely start a new airline.
  • What sort of airline would they be? Most likely not a full service airline. A low cost airline requires less capital and less risk to start up.
  • Where would they fly? A small network of profitable routes, excluding much of regional australia.
If Virgin Australia is allowed to fail, there’s no one ready to take their place.
Australian aviation will become a monopoly. A monopoly brings higher prices and less choice. Last time we saw this was when Ansett failed in 2001 – airfares were around 50% higher and it took years for Virgin Blue to bring real competition to the market. And that was in a strong economy!
Sign this petition in support of Virgin Australia’s application for a loan from the Australian Government, and keep airfares affordable.

Sign the Petition
 
Last edited:

AviatorInsight

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2016
Messages
805
Thanks a lot @QF WP. :)

@FlyerAus We stand together through this, and the petition is doing the rounds which is absolutely great to see the rally of people behind us.

In addition to this I have also sent out personalised letters to both federal and local ministers too about the misinformation out there and what it could mean not just for aviation, but the entire country if a major player ceased to exist.
 

hydrabyss

Active Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
624
Flights
My Map
Aviatorinsight you can’t imagine how much we appreciate it. Thank you for your efforts and thank you for replying. For some reason I thought I’d be slammed for posting it. Clearly people do have a heart!
Thanks for posting and I think you will find many care. Hopefully more will post to show their support.
 

SheikYerbouti

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Messages
112
I'm signing, but also saw NSW Premier say that travel restrictions and social distancing may be required to be in force till the vaccine is distributed... which could be over a year away 😦
 

jakeseven7

Established Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2005
Messages
1,697
I have signed the petition but we all know here on AFF that VA has been very poorly run for a very long time so I do dispute some of the statements in the petition like the clearly PR sanitised wording of 'Beyond our door the obsession is customer service' - great PR words but actions in this area clearly demonstrate this isn't really the obsession... Pity couldn't be less 'marketing' and more from the heart.

SO have signed, and shared and I sincerely hope both VA and QF get through this.
 

Rubix

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2016
Messages
163
I have signed aswell. I do agree with keeping VA afloat and my alliance is totally with them on the Domestic market and will be in the future. I have many friends working for them and I wish them the best.

I also see the other side to the story where the customer service standards and offerings, especially to loyal users, has been on a steep decline for several years.

I have countless times paid a little more to fly VA when I could have flown QF cheaper just to support the organisaton.
 

hossein_au

Established Member
Joined
May 2, 2013
Messages
1,496
I'm signing, but also saw NSW Premier say that travel restrictions and social distancing may be required to be in force till the vaccine is distributed... which could be over a year away 😦
He is just stating the obvious. Social distancing is simply keeping the virus at bay, but certainly it does not turn the tide. Only vaccination can limit the propagation of the virus and allows us to go back to anything resembling normalcy. I love to see how anti-vax (anti-science) people will be doing.

P.S: Sorry for hijacking the thread. Petition signed.
 

SydneySwan

Established Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
1,537
Qantas
LT Silver
He is just stating the obvious. Social distancing is simply keeping the virus at bay, but certainly it does not turn the tide. Only vaccination can limit the propagation of the virus and allows us to go back to anything resembling normalcy. I love to see how anti-vax (anti-science) people will be doing.
Gladys Berejiklian is still NSW Premier unfortunately.
 

NM

Enthusiast
Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
15,862
Qantas
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Virgin
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@FlyerAus thanks for joining AFF and sharing here. Please stick around. Its an especially difficult time for people in your position and huge numbers of people are impacted by the current circumstances.

I have only ever flown one flight with VA, but plenty of my family and friends have flown regularly with VA. I value strong brands and strong competition as essential for aviation in Australia. I have signed the partition.
 

StevoQFtraveller

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
49
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Australian aviation needs competition. VA has done well to date in providing this. I mainly fly QF, but realise that without VA, the service at QF would have drifted downwards over the years. We need both airlines in the future to keep standards, safety and service at the level that Australia is known for.
 

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