Concerns over future of Bay flights as Virgin sheds jobs

CONCERNS have been raised over the future of direct flights to Hervey Bay after Virgin Australia announced it would cut 3000 jobs.

Queensland Senator Anthony Chisholm said regional centres like Hervey Bay already suffered due to a lack of competition in the skies, and could not afford to lose flights.

"Fewer flights would almost certainly mean higher costs for travellers, which would hurt people in Wide Bay every time they had to travel for work, medical appointments or to see family.

"It would also make it harder for tourism centres like Hervey Bay to recover over the next couple of years.

"These routes must be maintained, even if the Federal Government has to get involved to ensure that happens."

Senator Chisholm said with continuing domestic and international border closures, it was clear that ongoing support will be required across the aviation sector to ensure there weren't further job losses.

After announcing a plan he said would make Virgin stronger, profitable and more competitive in the post-coronavirus world, chief executive Paul Scurrah revealed Bain had walked back its plan to move Virgin down-market by turning it into a "hybrid" carrier positioned somewhere between Qantas and Jetstar.

"We've cut away all the non-profitable parts of the business, and we're maintaining what was already profitable," he said.

"And now we're doing it with a much lower cost base."

Virgin's regional and charter operations are currently under review.