< Reveal sidebar

Virgin Australia Aircraft Blocked at Airports Around Australia

A Virgin Australia 777-300 rests at LAX before its next flight. As part of its restructuring, the airline is retiring its 777 fleet and halting long-haul routes.(Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

In response to Virgin Australia’s numerous outstanding invoices at Perth Airport, the airport authority has parked vehicles in front of four Virgin Australia jets to prevent the aircraft from leaving the airport.

According to Perth Airport, it is “working cooperatively with Virgin’s administrators to try to help the airline come through the current coronavirus crisis.” In addition, the airport emphasized the airline had owed significant outstanding invoices from Perth Airport for airfield and terminal use charges.

In the meantime, Qantas Airways, the main rival of Virgin Australia weighed in on the incident.

“Protecting your interests is one thing but parking a bulldozer in front of an aircraft while saying you’re working to secure an agreement is ridiculous,” A Qantas spokesman said.

According to local media, seven aircraft are blocked at Adelaide Airport. The airport said that the debt-laden airline owed $6.4 million USD to them. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports said that they will not consider blocking Virgin Australia aircraft given the current situation.

As a result of weakened travel demand due to the coronavirus, Virgin Australia goes into administration after the government refused a bailout package to the struggling airline. The airline owes a long term debt of $3.17 billion USD.  According to Josh Frydenberg, the Treasurer of the country, “The government was not going to bail out five large foreign shareholders with deep pockets, who, together, own 90 percent of this airline.”

Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, China’s Hai Nan Group, Nanshan Group and Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic, collectively own 90 percent of Virgin Australia.

Virgin Australia holds a 30 percent market share in Australia and the administrator Deloitte believed it can find a buyer given the current circumstances.

Rod Sims, chairman of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), raised concern over the lack of competition in the future if Virgin Australia were to cease operations.

“It’s crucial that we have two full-service airlines,” Sims said. ACCC believes the need for competition in all categories on routes between the nation’s main cities to help maintain competitive pricing.

Author

Subscribe to AirlineGeeks' Daily Check-In

Receive a daily dose of the airline industry's top stories along with market insights right in your inbox.

Related Stories

Copa Delays 737 MAX 8 Launch Amid Boeing Delivery Woes

Copa Airlines is feeling the effects of Boeing's delivery woes as it delays the launch of its new 737 MAX…

China’s COMAC Begins Developing New Widebody Aircraft

Chinese aircraft manufacturer COMAC has begun work on a new widebody airliner dubbed the C939. The South China Morning Post,…

SkyWest Confirms CRJ-550 Operations for Delta Connection

SkyWest will soon operate the premium-heavy CRJ-550 aircraft under the Delta Connection brand, a spokesperson from the regional carrier confirmed…