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UK Airways has announced plans to close its flight services in Australia in a bid to make room for a new service to take over from the airline.
British Airways said on Friday that it was terminating all services in the country, which has been under severe budget cuts.
The airline said it would reduce its flights to Brisbane, Perth and Hobart by 30 per cent over two years, and would close all of its flights out of Melbourne by June 2019.
However, the announcement was greeted with cheers by customers who had previously booked through a third-party booking site.
“It’s a huge blow,” said David O’Connor, a 41-year-old taxi driver who has been a UK Airways passenger for the past five years.
He said the decision would have been difficult for some of his colleagues, who were still flying to Australia on other airlines.
There were concerns about the impact on UK Airways’ overseas operations, including its flights from New Zealand to Hong Kong and Singapore.
A spokesperson for British Airways said it was “a very sad day for the business community”.
“We have to look at how we are going to deal with the impacts on our staff and customers who are affected by the decisions,” the spokesperson said.
UK Airways said in a statement that it would have “replaced” all UK Airways flights by June 2020, but it had not made any changes to the number of seats in its fleet and it had no plans to do so.
Some airlines in Europe have said they will be forced to sell their flights if their budgets are cut.