Queensland’s State Development Minister Cameron Dick has urged Virgin Australia staff to show their support for a reborn airline remaining in Brisbane, ahead of a crunch shareholder meeting on Thursday.
The intervention comes alongside the TWU urging the government to consider a stake in the business, which it says is “inevitable” and “highly desirable”.
Administrators Deloitte’s first creditors’ meeting will gather together parties such as aircraft lessors, bondholders, employees and the parent company of Velocity Frequent Flyers.
Minister Dick’s statement comes as Queensland faces an apparent bailout bidding war with NSW and Victoria to woo a reborn Virgin Australia away from Brisbane.
“Virgin staff are big players in the process as creditors with upwards of $400 million worth of entitlements,” Minister Dick said. “The workers have made it clear through representatives, the Transport Workers Union, they would not support moving headquarters out of Queensland. At this time, the last thing Virgin staff need is the disruption and dislocation of an interstate move.”
Meanwhile, the Transport Workers Union has also stepped up the pressure on the federal government to intervene, now the business is in administration.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said, “This is not a normal voluntary administration process and the government needs to recognise this. Australian aviation is critically important to our national economic and security interests. Decisions made now about Virgin’s future will ripple through the coming decades, creating serious ramifications for travel, tourism and many other industries.
“The government should therefore expedite its next move so that everyone can have confidence and clarity about its vision for a stable second airline and the stability of aviation into the future. A Commonwealth stake in Virgin is inevitable and highly desirable if our industry is to return to health, maintain its workforce and serve the national interest.”
On Monday, Australian Aviation reported how Perth Airport impounded four Virgin aircraft with heavy machinery as it seeks to recover $160 million in outstanding debt.
The next day it was revealed Velocity Rewards, which ultimately oversees the frequent flyer business, was also seeking $150 million.
The airline group confirmed its collapse last week. After the announcement, Strawbridge and Virgin chief executive Paul Scurrah revealed that more than 10 parties have expressed interest in recapitalising the company, which they described as being “very sophisticated parties”.
For more of our in-depth coverage, click the links below:
- Velocity Frequent Flyer points have been paused, but won’t be cancelled;
- Sir Richard Branson hits out at the Australian government as he pays tribute to Virgin staff;
- The TWU and opposition urges the government to make a ‘bold’ move to save the airline;
- Chief executive Paul Scurrah has revealed more than 10 parties have expressed interest in recapitalising the company.
- Australia’s states have entered an apparent bailout bidding war to help Virgin Australia – on the condition the reborn business shifts its base away from Brisbane.
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