Shareholders Should Bail Out Virgin: Australian Treasurer

Shareholders Should Bail Out Virgin: Australian Treasurer
Tiger Air and Virgin sit idle on the tarmac at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport on April 12, 2020. (William West/AFP via Getty Images)
Caden Pearson

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that he was aware of reports that Virgin Australia had hired insolvency experts and is looking at voluntary administration.

Responding to a question from a reporter at a press conference on April 15, the treasurer said Virgin's "first point of call" is their shareholders and equity holders.
"And they've got some big equity holders there," he said.

Virgin Australia's shareholders include Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, and two China-related companies—Nanshan Village Committee and Hainan Traffic Administration Holding Co., Ltd.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson told The Epoch Times that the airline continues to monitor passenger numbers and adjust their capacity requirements as necessary to respond to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.

The airline said government restrictions meant fewer people are traveling.

"We have made changes to our schedules to reflect this. We continue to operate a daily service between Melbourne and Sydney, provide cargo transport locally and overseas, and operate charter flights including assisting the government in bringing Australians home," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Frydenberg said Australia has 25 million people, and having two airlines has served the country well in providing tourism links, movements of people, and freight services.

However, the government has taken a sector-wide approach in providing relief packages amid the crisis linked to the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.

The Virgin Australia spokesperson said the airline had been "keeping the air fair" for 20 years. "We want to continue to provide a valuable service to all Australians, the 16,000 people employed directly and indirectly, and enable the broader economy to restart quickly once we emerge from this crisis."

Frydenberg said the government had announced over a billion dollars worth of support for the aviation sector which helps Virgin, Qantas, and regional airlines.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the aviation sector had already received quite significant support. "We haven't been picking any winners or picking any favourites here, " he told Today on April 14.
This article has been updated to include comments from a Virgin Australia spokesperson.