Virgin Australia’s new chief executive, Jayne Hrdlicka, has unveiled her grand plans to resurrect the airline from its financial woes sparked by the coronavirus lockdown.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, Ms Hrdlicka said the new Virgin 2.0 would target the mid-market of the aviation industry and cater to price-conscious travellers wanting a premium experience.
“Australia already has a low-cost carrier and a traditional full-service airline, and we won’t be either,” she said in reference to Jetstar and Qantas respectively.
“Virgin Australia will be a mid-market carrier appealing to customers who are after a great value airfare and better service.”
The major airline has revealed it will scrap complimentary snacks and replace them with a buy on-board menu similar to what is offered by rival airline Jetstar.
Virgin also touted it might be considering ditching Wi-Fi and in-flight entertainment, with the company saying both services are under review and more details will be announced in 2021.
Its business class offering is also being subjected to ongoing reviews.
Virgin Australia collapsed in April and went into voluntary administration following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic with debts of $6.8bn.
International private equity firm Bain Capital acquired Virgin following its entry into voluntary administration for $3.5bn.
Ms Hrdlicka replaces Paul Scurrah who announced his resignation in October.
The former boss of rival airline Jetstar between 2012 and 2017 said the Adelaide COVID-19 cluster outbreaks highlighted the ongoing uncertainty plaguing the travel market but demand for flights was improving.
“As we have seen with the recent issues with South Australia, the travel market remains uncertain. We are, however, seeing some positive signs of recovery,” she said.
“We expect continued volatility, but as demand recovers, we’ll achieve a market share consistent with our pre-COVID position and continue to invest in, and grow, the fleet in line with increases in demand.”
Virgin Australia has also confirmed its lounges will reopen on Wednesday; however, Darwin, Cairns and Mackay lounges will close permanently and the Canberra lounge remains under review.
The airline will retain its regional flight business and expects to retain one-third of the Australian aviation market, which it held before the health crisis.
No changes will be made to Virgin’s Velocity frequent flyer program and the seating options of business, premium economy and economy will remain.