Competitor steps in to take up Qantas slackCebu Daily News
SYDNEY- Virgin Australia is boosting passenger capacity and enlisting the help of its airline partners to carry people stranded by the extraordinary grounding of Qantas’s fleet, it said Sunday.
Virgin swung into action after its main competitor in Australia locked out its staff and shut down all flights as it moved to draw an end to a series of rolling strikes that it says were slowly killing Qantas.
Virgin Australia has added 40,000 seats to its network for the next two weeks since Qantas made its shock announcement late Saturday, including 3,000 for Sunday alone.
“We are doing everything we can to assist any stranded passengers over the course of the next few days and the coming weeks,” Virgin Australia spokeswoman Danielle Keighery told reporters.
In addition, the carrier is in talks with its airline partners Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand in a bid to ensure that more of the tens of thousands of stranded Qantas passengers get to their destinations.
Keighery said the airline was exploring using an Etihad Boeing 777 which would free up one of its own 777s to operate the lucrative Sydney-Los Angeles route.
In addition, it is in discussions with Singapore Airlines about using one of its aircraft to ferry passengers between Sydney and Melbourne, while Air New Zealand could carry more passengers across the Tasman Sea, she said.