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Virgin could extend its COVID credit deadline

written by Jake Nelson | September 18, 2023

A Virgin Australia 737-800, VH-VUS, on approach to Sydney Airport. (Image: Craig Murray)

Virgin Australia is reconsidering the expiry date on $120 million in COVID-19 flight credits as the ACCC pushes it to give affected customers more breathing room.

The carrier’s remaining flight credits, which are worth around 10 per cent of the initial $1.2 billion in bookings, are due to expire on December 31, as Qantas’s were before the Flying Kangaroo scrapped the deadline at the end of August.

“Virgin Australia is in the process of reviewing our ‘COVID Credit’ expiry dates and will update our customers as soon as the review is complete,” a Virgin spokesperson said.

An ACCC spokesperson told The Australian that Virgin should extend the expiry date on the credits, which have been more difficult to use given the relative lack of long-haul Virgin flights post-administration.

“The ACCC engaged extensively with all three domestic airline groups in relation to a range of consumer issues that arose during the pandemic,” the spokesperson said.


“This included providing guidance for the travel industry recommending that businesses should allow consumers a reasonable period in which to use Covid-related credits.

“The ACCC encourages Virgin to extend its credit expiry dates for all Covid flight credits to ensure consumers are able to effectively use these credits.”

The credits under consideration are for flights between 21 April 2020 and 31 July 2022, after the airline went into administration, with around $300 million extra from before the administration set to expire on a hard deadline at the end of the year.

The ACCC spokesperson acknowledged these credits were a separate matter and accepted the planned expiry date.

“In such administration processes, the new business is generally able to choose what liabilities of the old business it will or won’t take on,” the spokesperson said.

“As part of the sale to Bain Capital, it agreed to continue to honour existing Virgin credit notes and the administration process included a federal court decision that endorsed the approach taken to Virgin credits that were outstanding at the time of the administration.”

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