As the Omicron crunch comes to an end, Virgin Australia is continuing its campaign to hire hundreds of new employees.
Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka says the airline is looking recruit cabin crew, ground personnel, engineers, pilots, and corporate professionals right now.
Virgin stated in November that it would start hiring for “hundreds of new opportunities” after adding seven more Boeing 737s to its fleet.
However, because to the Omicron outbreak, the airline was forced to reduce flying capacity by 25% in January, putting these plans on hold.
It all comes just over a year after Virgin was relaunched under Bain Capital’s ownership, and nearly two years after the troubled airline was sent into administration.
“We’ve done a lot of hard work over the course of two years making sure we’re a different company now,” Hrdlicka told A Current Affair.
“People’s jobs are safe, we’re excited about the future and there’s nothing but optimism to look forward to,” she added.
According to Virgin, new employees will receive a variety of incentives, including drastically discounted flights for themselves and their families, a $1,000 yearly travel credit, and up to six weeks paid annual leave.
Employees will also get access to free airport parking, an on-site physiotherapist, and the opportunity to earn Velocity frequent flyer miles while on the job.
Virgin Australia’s Sydney training center is already full of new cabin crew members.
“This group we have today are initial cabin crew, they’re a group of 21 students. Some have returned from other airlines and from Virgin previously,” crew training instructor Matthew Nicolson said.
Nicolson is a returning Virgin alumna, having worked with the airline for ten years before being laid off in 2020.
“I think not knowing when the industry would return to normal or bounce back in some capacity was the hardest,” he said.
Before boarding an aircraft, a new cabin crew must complete a six-week full-time training course to learn the profession and how to respond in an emergency.
Before taking their first flight, cabin crew must also complete these abilities tests.
“We have people learning different safety moves to ensure they’re well prepared when they step out on the line for the first time for this class next week,” chief people officer at Virgin, Lisa Burquest, said.
As it navigates the current Omicron outbreak, Virgin Australia said last month that it will reduce aircraft capacity by 25% in January and February and suspend its newly reinstated single international route to Fiji.
According to the airline, travel demand was reduced as a result of the latest outbreak sweeping Australia, which caused customers to cancel last-minute reservations due to isolation regulations.
Meanwhile, the industry continues to struggle with a labor shortage, with frontline workers being placed in seven-day isolation on a regular basis after being identified as close contacts of proven COVID cases.
As a result, Virgin has reduced capacity across its network and halted all flights on ten of its routes, including its one overseas service to Fiji, which was reinstated less than a month after the airline emerged from administration in 2020.
Despite the numerous schedule modifications, Hrdlicka claims that the measures will have no long-term impact on the company or its customers.
“One thing we have learnt from the last two years is that we need to keep adapting as circumstances change. So, we will continue to do that, and have made some temporary changes to our network to manage the current environment,” Hrdlicka said.
“We do know that as we make the shift to living with COVID-19, there will continue to be changes in all our lives and we look forward to continuing to connect our guests with their families, friends, colleagues.”