21 April 2020

Virgin Australia crashes into voluntary administration putting thousands out of work

International airline Virgin Australia has entered voluntary administration, officials at the company have confirmed.

This makes it Australia's first big corporate victim of the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline is the country's second-largest carrier and employs over 10,000 people directly and a further 6,000 through connected businesses.

Following wide-spread travel bans imposed in March, the carrier cut almost all flights, which impacted severely on the A$5bn (£2.55bn; $3.17bn) debt the company were already struggling with.

Shares in the firm had also been suspended in recent weeks as the airline struggled. Concerns remain rife over the airline, which has turned only two statutory profits in the past ten years.

The Australian carrier, which is partly owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin group, was denied a loan from the Australian government, and is now seeking buyers and investors in order to continue flying when travel bans are lifted.

Virgin Australia chief executive Paul Scurrah said: "Our decision today is about securing the future of the Virgin Australia Group and emerging on the other side of the Covid-19 crisis.

"Australia needs a second airline and we are determined to keep flying."

Other part-owners of the airline include Singapore Airlines, the UAE Government and China's HNA.

The news comes just hours following the announcement that Branson has offered his private Caribbean island to help his Virgin Atlantic group secure a government bailout.

Virgin's Paul Scurrah said: "Australia needs a second airline and we are determined to keep flying" (PA Images)

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox