In Focus

August

4 August

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirms plans for a trans-Tasman bubble have now been “put on the backburner” due to Victoria’s COVID-19 resurgence. She also indicates that Australia will need to be free of unknown locally acquired cases – so-called community transmission – for at least 28 days before travel could begin. The comments mark a turnaround from June, when the country’s then deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, argued flights between the two countries should restart even if some Australian states were closed.

5 August

Virgin Australia announces it will cut 3,000 jobs and axe the Tigerair brand – making the low-cost airline the country’s first major airline casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an early morning announcement to the ASX, the business also says it will continue to fly international routes, will operate as a hybrid and not a low-cost carrier and will also continue to offer domestic lounges and business-class flying. Minutes later, ‘winning’ bidder Bain then confirms to Australian Aviation that it plans to retain chief executive Paul Scurrah. Unions surprisingly refuse to criticise the redundancies, arguing that the decision to avoid becoming a solely low-cost carrier is “broadly positive”.

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