Footage of a Virgin Australia cabin supervisor’s final landing announcement has left people reeling after the airline stood down thousands of staff on Wednesday amid fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
New Zealand-based cabin crew Cassy brought people to tears with her emotional farewell on her “last flight for the foreseeable future. ”
In the video, Cassy thanked her guests and wished them the best “during these testing times” and asked people to take care of themselves and their neighbours before turning her attention to her teammates.
“To my crew, words don’t come close to describing the family bond we all share. The friendships, hardships, laughter and tears,” she said over the loudspeaker.
“You’ve all contributed to enriching my time here and I count myself extremely lucky to have the pleasure of working alongside you all.”
Cassie held back tears as she proudly described her team’s remarkable efforts to overcome the stress and uncertainty COVID-19’s brutal impact has brought upon the travel industry and world economy as we know it.
“Actually made me cry. Sending love to you all,” model Meghan Gale wrote on Instagram.
“Thank you so much for all you do. I hope u it’s come back to work ASAP. Thank you! For getting me back to America just in time, posted another user.
“Omg I ligit (sic) just had tears watching this,” said another user.
Virgin Australia Holdings said on Wednesday it was cutting 90% of its domestic capacity, temporarily grounding 125 aircraft, and putting 80% of its employees on leave until at least the end of May as demand plummets due to the coronavirus.
The moves at Australia’s second most popular airline will affect 8,000 workers and all operations of its low-cost subsidiary Tigerair Australia will be suspended. It had already grounded all international flights. Leave without pay will be inevitable for many employees, the company said.
The domestic and international suspensions will last from March 27 to June 14 and it will look to pause key supplier agreements. It is also looking to close its New Zealand cabin crew and pilot bases and its Tigerair Australia pilot base in Melbourne.
“We plan to return Tigerair Australia and Virgin Australia to the skies as soon as it is 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,” Virgin Chief Executive Paul Scurrah said in a statement.
The Australian government has advised against non-essential domestic travel and several of its states and territories require arrivals from other parts of the country to self-isolate for 14 days, leading to a plunge in domestic demand.
“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,” Scurrah said.
All Australia are prohibited from flying overseas, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in ‘Stage Two’ of Australia’s coronavirus lockdown.
Rival Qantas last week said it would place two-thirds of its 30,000 workers on leave as it slashed capacity. Its international fleet will be grounded but it has also warned this week of the potential for further domestic cuts due to the growing travel restrictions.