Virgin Australia: 8,000 staff stood down, most flights cancelled, CEO wants more government support
Virgin Australia has just grounded 125 aircraft, cut its network by 90%, sent 8,000 out of 10,000 staff home, and closed its lounge network, all this until May 31.
It doesn’t stop there. Tiger Airways – the budget airline of the Virgin Australia group is downing wings immediately.
Virgin Australia is trying to preserve its cash-in-hand which is less than AU$1 billion.
While Qantas has been able to negotiate an AU$1.05 billion debt against its 7 Dreamliners, Virgin Australia has not announced any such move. It has not even said anything about asking its current shareholders – Singapore Airlines (SIA), Virgin and Chinese behemoths HNA and Nanshan.
SIA has its own finances to worry about, and although financially healthy considering current circumstances, may not be in a position to offer financial support to Virgin Australia. The same applies to Richard Branson and Virgin. The two Chinese shareholders, particularly HNA were already in some financial distress before this whole COVID-19 thing started.
Virgin Australia is asking for even more support for the Airline and travel industry – more than the AU$715 million already promised as part of a rescue package mainly consisting of waived fees and other charges.
Virgin is looking in a perilous position, and I’m sure Alan Joyce of Qantas wishing its death, and reportedly even asking employees to lobby their MP’s to not support a Virgin bailout, is helping.
Post COVID-19 crisis, I think the world airline industry is going to look very different.
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