‘We’ve called the skies our home’: Virgin Australia flight attendant’s heartbreaking message to passengers as 8,000 staff are stood down because of coronavirus
- Virgin Australia Group has stood down 8,000 of its staff until the end of May
- Cabin supervisor Cassy Appleton left a heartfelt sign off message for passengers
- Domestic cuts come into effect on Friday, with international cuts from Monday
- Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah said the mass closure was unprecedented
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
A Virgin Australia flight attendant has given an emotional message to passengers on her final flights before thousands of staff are stood down due to coronavirus.
The airline on Wednesday announced it would cut domestic travel by 90 per cent and ground 125 planes, with 8,000 staff members to be stood down without pay.
Domestic travel cuts will come into effect from midnight on Friday while all international flights will be cut off from Monday onward.
Virgin Australia cabin supervisor Cassy Appleton left a heartfelt message for passengers on a flight landing in Dunedin in New Zealand on Wednesday and thanked guests for choosing to fly with them.
Virgin Australia announced it would cut domestic travel by 90 per cent and ground 125 planes, leaving 8,000 staff members to be stood down without pay
‘I’d like to just say that there’s every chance possible that this can be our last operating flight and most certainly is the last for the foreseeable future,’ Cassy said.
‘As crew we’ve called the skies our home for so long it’s a little surreal knowing we’ve come back down to earth this one last time.
‘On behalf of the entire Virgin Australia team, we wish you all the best during these testing times. Please take care of yourselves, your neighbours and stay safe.’
Ms Appleton elaborated on her final sign off on her Facebook page.
‘Today we received confirmation that Virgin are shutting down our NZ bases. Emotions are undescribable,’ she wrote.
‘Having this opportunity was the best thing that happened to my life and to say I’m beyond grateful is an understatement.
Virgin Australia cabin supervisor Cassy Appleton left a heartfelt message for passengers landing in Dunedin on Wednesday
‘Whilst I’m hurting for my loss I’m also counting my lucky stars to have been so blessed with this incredible opportunity.’
Virgin Australia’s international and domestic flights are not expected to resume until at least the middle of June, with all Tiger Air flights also suspended.
The airline has maintained the remaining 10 per cent of domestic travel to allow for essential services, critical freight and logistics operations to continue.
The majority of staff will be stood down until at least the end of May but the airline group will help them seek out job options for temporary work to fill the gap.
Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah said the mass closure was unprecedented.
‘There has never been a travel environment in Australia as restricted as the one we see today and the extraordinary steps we’ve taken have been in response to the federal and state governments’ latest travel advice,’ he said.
‘We are now facing what will be the biggest grounding of aircraft in this country’s history.
‘We plan to return Tigerair Australia and Virgin Australia to the skies as soon as it’s viable to do so, however I am mindful that how we operate today may look different when we get to the other side of this crisis,’ he said.
Mr Scurrah applauded the actions of staff who had worked tirelessly to help passengers get home before states around Australia shut down their borders.
Those with flights booked with the airline between Wednesday and June 30 are entitled to claim back the cost of their flights as credit to use when service resumes.
There are currently 2,431 cases of coronavirus in Australia, with nine deaths