australian aviation logo

Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti receives Australia Day gong

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 27, 2017

Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti. (Jordan Chong)
A file image of Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti with the airline’s staff. (Jordan Chong)

Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti has been recognised in the 2017 Australia Day Honours list for his contribution to the aviation industry over the past four decades.

The veteran airline boss has been honoured with admission as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

The official citation said Borghetti was recognised “For distinguished service to the Australian aviation industry, to the development of national and international tourism opportunities, and as a supporter of the arts and sport.”

Borghetti has been chief executive of Virgin Australia, the nation’s second largest airline group, since 2010.

During his time at the helm, Borghetti has taken the budget airline formerly known as Virgin Blue to a full-service carrier that was rebranded to Virgin Australia in 2011.

Further, Borghetti expanded Virgin’s footprint in the Australian regional market through the acquisition of Skywest in 2013 and forged alliances with strategic foreign carriers such as Air New Zealand, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines to grow its international network without spending billions of dollars on new aircraft.

And at the low-cost end of the market Virgin took full ownership of Tigerair Australia in 2014. Meanwhile, Virgin has also commenced a dedicated cargo business and significantly grown its Velocity frequent flyer program.


The changes to Virgin have brought competition to many sectors of the Australian aviation industry that had been dominated by Qantas.

“Over the past six years, we have been working tirelessly to transform the company and frankly the Australian aviation industry,” Borghetti told shareholders at the Virgin annual general meeting in Brisbane on November 16 2016.

“In doing so we have delivered an innovative customer experience to Australian travellers and ensured there is strong competition in every past of the Australian aviation industry, including corporate travel, leisure, low cost, regional, charter, cargo and loyalty programs.”


Prior to joining Virgin, Borghetti was at Qantas for 36 years. Starting in the mail room in 1973, Borghetti rose to executive general manager of Qantas airlines in 2003, a position he held until his departure from the Flying Kangaroo in 2009.

In addition to his aviation roles, Borghetti is currently a non-executive director on Australian Securities Exchange listed Coca-Cola Amatil. He has also been a director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra since 2012.

Comments (10)

  • TrashHauler


    Ok, now you’ve got your medal how about you start making the VIrgin group some money…

  • Bart


    As a shareholder with Virgin for over ten years when will l receive a return from my investment

  • Gregory


    It’s Qantas AIRWAYS……never ‘Airlines’….get it right!

    • australianaviation.com.au


      @Gregory – As this press release shows, John Borghetti’s title at Qantas was ‘executive general manager Qantas airlines’ – http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20031017/pdf/3jdjks12gzfgc.pdf – where he was in charge of running the core Qantas international and domestic airline operations.

  • Vannus


    It’d make for a nice change if he could make Virgin shareholders’ some dividends’.

    It’s laughable in the fact that from the outset, all the things that Branson said that Virgin ‘wouldn’t do/have’, they’ve introduced, & STILL can’t make any money…………….

    What are they doing SO wrong?

    QANTAS can make over BILLION $$$$$$ Profit, yet Virgin still are getting multiple-millions $$$$ cash infusion from Etihad, Singapore Airlines, & now Han Group, & they’re still haemorrhaging cash at an uncontrollable rate!

    How much longer can THAT go on????

  • Kim


    The problem with Virgin is that too much is paid in the way of bonuses to a few Head Office employees. Why they receive bonuses when the Company share price is lagging and shareholders receive no return is a question that needs to be answered. Too many yes people on the Board? Hope Virgin does not go the way of Ansett (Sir Reginald also received a “gong”) but prior to his airline being taken over by another Knight Sir Peter Abeles.

  • Gregory


    To above reply comment by Australian Aviation……

    The Company has never been called Qantas ‘Airlines’……
    It’s always been called ‘Qantas Airways’.

    Don’t care what your press release says!

  • Jake


    Can we have a new airline domestically in Australia please. One that isn’t owned by Virgin or Qantas and wants to fly interstate.

  • Larry


    This is laughable john borghetti and his executive team should have been removed years ago. They have made a cash loss for the last 6 years

  • Jasper


    I am a former Qantas employee. John Borghetti’s title was indeed Executive General Manager Qantas airlines. The “airlines” refers to the international and domestic operation of Qantas Airways. The editor is correct here. The company name Qantas Airways is not being incorrectly referred to as Qantas Airlines, or at least I doubt that was the intention.
    Hope that helps to clarify.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.