Virgin Australia has announced flight cutbacks between Australia and New Zealand as part of route changes across the network as new CEO Paul Scurrah attempts to reign in the significant financial losses that have plagued the airline in recent years.
Virgin Australia lost A$349.1 million in the 2018-2019 financial year, and has racked up losses of A$1.2 billion over the previous six years.
The airline will cease flying between Sydney and Christchurch from April 2020, and will also cut the number of flights between Sydney and Auckland back to 14 return services per week, down from the current schedule which has up to 19 return services per week.
The airline has struggled with its Trans Tasman operations since the end of its Trans Tasman Alliance with Air New Zealand in October 2018. It was forced to launch new Trans Tasman routes to remain competitive, but has struggled with passenger numbers over the past year.
In the latest available August 2019 passenger data Virgin Australia only managed a 70.7% inbound load factor to Australia from New Zealand, with their outbound load factor to New Zealand sitting at 73.4%
Virgin Australia will also cut services between Perth and Canberra, Perth and the Gold Coast, as well as between Melbourne and Hong Kong, a route that it only began flying in July 2017.