Jayne Hrdlicka, CEO of Virgin Australia: flying will be ‘irresistible’

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The newly installed CEO of Virgin Australia said it would be “irresistible” to fly again as the airline aims to regain market share with a new owner.
Jayne Hrdlicka told CNBC on Wednesday the company was well positioned to capture a third of the domestic market, restoring it to pre-Covid levels as domestic travel resumed.

“We’ve been under new ownership for three weeks, we currently have the strongest balance sheet of any airline in the country, and by January… we fully intend to represent about a third of the domestic market. . This is what we were before Covid, ”Hrdlicka said in an exclusive interview with CNBC’s Will Koulouris.

Hrdlicka is the former boss of economy airline Jetstar, a subsidiary of Qantas. She was named Paul Scurrah’s successor in October, as part of a strategy by new owners Bain Capital to save the struggling airline after it went into voluntary administration in April.

It’s our job as Virgin Australia to do as much heavy work as possible, to fly as much as possible, to get as many of our employees back to work as possible.

Jayne Hrdlicka

PDG de Virgin Australia

Its installation coincides with the start of the summer season in Australia, which has largely reopened its national borders amid falling coronavirus cases.

“It will be irresistible to fly again,” Hrdlicka said.

“We are now in an ideal situation as a country. We are able to go out, spend time with other people and travel, ”she continued.

Virgin Australia Boeing 737 sits empty on the tarmac at Sydney Airport on August 5, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.

James D. Morgan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

“It’s our job as Virgin Australia to do as much of the hard work as possible, to fly as much as possible, to bring as many of our employees back to work as possible and to allow Australia to really enjoy December. and January. ”

Virgin Australia is in the running to win back customers after its first half abandonment. Earlier this week, the carrier launched a new loyalty program for passengers who travel before March 28, 2021, with the aim of outperforming similar promotions from competitor Qantas.

Hrdlicka said the competition was “as it should be”. However, she added that it was “too early” to make a call on international travel, countering comments from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who said last month that all international travelers should be called. are vaccinated.

“We will listen and learn, work closely with the government, and we will make a call once the right answer is more evident,” she said.

– Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Jayne Hrdlicka.

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