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New flight deal to help beat border chaos

2 weeks ago 5

Virgin Australia has announced it will allow passengers to change flights as many times as they want between now and January 31 as borders across the country continue to open and close.

In a new policy called the “Passenger Promise”, Virgin will allow name changes and flight changes for no additional fee – though fare difference costs may apply.

A Virgin Australia spokesman said the airline had made the move so passengers could consider Christmas holidays with more confidence.

“While there is still uncertainty around border restrictions, we know that Australians want to start booking their travel and our Passenger Promise will give travellers the peace of mind they need to make a booking now,” he said.

“We’re hopeful that borders will reopen by Christmas and this new initiative to help get travellers on their next flight is the right step forward to rebooting the Australian tourism industry.”

The airline has also spruiked its COVID-safe credentials, vowing to give all passengers a short pre-flight health screening questionnaire, stagger boarding and distance passengers on the flight where possible and provide face masks and hand sanitiser kits to passengers.

There will be reduced on-board movement from crew, contactless check-in and more intensive cleaning of planes more often.

Friday’s announcement is a welcome piece of positive news for the airline, which was pushed into administration in March as the coronavirus pandemic began to shut down airports across the world.

The business was saved by private equity firm Bain Capital in late June, but its discount airline, Tigerair, was shut down.

Customers that had credits with the airline will be able to use them on Virgin flights going forward.

Virgin’s financial issues stem back to the airline’s large levels of debt prior to the shutdown, with more than $5 billion owing to creditors.

In the first half of the 2020 financial year, the company posted an interim loss of $88.6 million.

On August 5, Virgin announced significant cost-cutting measures that included culling 3000 employees and scrapping low-cost carrier Tigerair.

At the height of the pandemic, the majority of Virgin Australia flights were cancelled, with the airline only operating a handful of flights between Melbourne and Sydney.

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