The Palaszczuk government has announced this morning it will offer $200 million towards a national package to support COVID-19 impacted airline Virgin.
The offer is contingent to a similar backing from the federal government plus other states and territories.
Its support is also conditional on a debt restructuring undertaking at the airline as well as shareholder and bondholder support.
Virgin is currently headquartered in Brisbane, and the funding lifeline will only be available should the airline maintain its Queensland corporate presence.
The Brisbane headquarters alone supports a workforce of over 5,000 people.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who is also the federal Transport Minister, has welcomed the Queensland offer of assistance – specifically the support of regional Australia and the maintenance of air routes and choice for domestic travel.
“If we’re going to have two national airlines at the other side of this pandemic, all governments need to come together to ensure that is the case; we need a national response,” he said.
The Morrison government has already made a significant investment into airline support, with $165 million to keep Qantas and Virgin operating essential domestic services to metropolitan and regional locations.
Virgin has requested a $1.4 billion loan from the federal government, which it has yet to successfully secure.
Deputy PM McCormack’s remarks affirming the need of two major carriers was echoed by Queensland State Development Minister Cameron Dick via a statement made today.
“Queensland has given Australia both our national airlines – we won’t let them go, or let thousands of families watch their jobs go, without a fight,” he said.
“But we can’t do it alone, and nor should we, because all parts of Australia benefit from two national airlines.”
More to follow.