Virgin Australia Holdings


Virgin Australia Holdings Limited
Virgin Australia Holdings
FormerlyVirgin Blue Holdings (2000–2011)
IndustryAviation and tourism
Founded2000 (as Virgin Blue Holdings)
FoundersSir Richard Branson
Virgin Group
HeadquartersSouth Bank, ,
Area served
Key people
Jayne Hrdlicka (CEO)
BrandsVirgin Australia
Virgin Australia Regional
Velocity Frequent Flyer
RevenueA$5.83 billion (2019)
Number of employees
10,620 (2019)

Virgin Australia Holdings Limited is the holding company that owns and operates Virgin Australia, Virgin Australia International Airlines and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines. It previously operated Pacific Blue Airlines, Tigerair Australia and joint-venture airline Polynesian Blue which were absorbed into Virgin Australia in December 2011. Its head office is located in South Bank, Brisbane.[1] After being placed in administration in April 2020, it was purchased by Bain Capital in August 2020.


Former Virgin Blue Holdings logo, used until December 2011

Virgin Blue Holdings was formed in 2000 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Virgin Group.

In 2001, the then Air New Zealand owned Ansett Australia made a buyout offer of $250 million, which was publicly rejected by Richard Branson.[2] In 2002, Virgin came to an agreement with Patrick Corporation to invest in the airline, to allow it to grow into a national airline, filling the void following the demise of Ansett Australia.[3] In return for a 50% share of the company, Patrick invested $260 million. At the time, the view was that Patrick's shareholding would also allow the company to benefit from their new shareholder's political connections with the Howard Government, and also 'Greenwash' the company, allowing it to be described as Australian-owned.[4]

In 2003, Virgin Blue Holdings Limited was floated on the Australian Securities Exchange as Virgin Group sought to sell down its holdings.[3]

In early 2005, Patrick launched a hostile takeover for Virgin Australia Holdings. Patrick had been unhappy for some time with the company's direction. By the closure of the offer, Patrick held 62% of the company, giving it control. Virgin Group retained a 25% share. In 2006, Patrick Corporation was taken over by Toll Holdings, who maintained the ownership of shares in Virgin Blue Holdings. In 2008 the group announced a plan to distribute 98.3% of its shares in the company to its shareholders, thus making itself no longer a majority stakeholder.[5] At the time Toll Holdings owned 62.7% of the company and had previously attempted to sell the share to no avail.[6][7]

In January 2011, Air New Zealand purchased a 15% shareholding in Virgin Blue Holdings.[8] In June 2013 this was increased to 23%.[9] In September 2012, Etihad Airways purchased a 10% shareholding, this was later increased to 20%. A month later Singapore Airlines bought a 10% stake in Virgin Australia Holdings.[10] In April 2013 this was increased to 20%.[11] The same month Virgin Australia Holdings announced it had purchased a 60% stake in Tiger Airways Australia with the transaction concluded in July 2013.[12] Tiger would continue to operate as a low cost subsidiary of Virgin Australia for 20 years.

In April 2013, Virgin Australia Holdings completed its acquisition of regional airline Skywest Airlines and rebranded it Virgin Australia Regional Airlines.[13] In October 2014, Virgin Australia Holdings announced plans to acquire the 40% stake of Tigerair Australia still held by Tiger Airways Holdings for $1, giving Virgin full ownership. Virgin would retain the Tigerair name and acquire the brand rights for Tigerair to operate to some international destinations from Australia.[14][15] This acquisition was completed in February 2015 with tigerair becoming a fully owned subsidiary of Virgin Australia Holdings.[16]

In May 2016, HNA Group (part owner of Hainan Airlines), announced plans to purchase a 13% stake in Virgin Australia Holdings, which if approved will see existing owners' shares diluted. Air New Zealand's stake would become 22.5%, Etihad would hold 21.8%, Singapore Airlines 20.1% and Virgin Group 8.7%.[17] A month later Air New Zealand sold 19.9% of VAH to Nanshan Group (majority owner of Qingdao Airlines);[18] and in October, Air New Zealand sold its remaining 2.5% of VAH to Nanshan Group (majority owner of Qingdao Airlines).[19] A month later Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti wrote to the airline's pilots to reassure them the airline was in a sound financial position following publication of a report suggesting the airline was approaching insolvency.[20][21]

In March 2020, Virgin Australia halted all flights from international sector and in early April 2020, all domestic flights except for some services from Sydney to Melbourne due to the COVID-19 pandemic with 8,000 staff would be stood down.[22] After a request for $1.4 billion loan from the Federal Government was rejected, in April 2020 Virgin Australia Holdings was placed in voluntary administration with Deloitte appointed as administrator.[23][24] It continued to trade whilst Deloitte sought to sell the business, with Bain Capital, BGH Capital, Cyrus Capital Partners and Indigo Partners shortlisted to bid.[25] The administrator listed Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners to make final bids. On 26 June 2020, the administrators announced that Bain Capital's bids to acquire Virgin Australia had been successful with current equity holders being wiped out. Subject to being approved by creditors, the deal is expected to be finalised in August 2020.[26] The Queensland Government announced they had partnered with Bain Capital offering $200 million in return for maintain the airline being in Queensland.[27] Bain's plan included reducing the fleet size from 130 to 70-80 aircraft and shutting down the Tigerair brand. Furthermore, they are planning on returning Virgin's A330's to lessors and mothballing their 777-300ER fleet until 2021. The sale was approved by creditors on 4 September 2020.[28] In October 2020, Virgin Group took a 5% stake in the company.[29]

Air New Zealand divestment

In March 2016, Air New Zealand announced plans to divest itself from Virgin Australia Holdings. Air New Zealand CEO, Christopher Luxon announced intentions to resign from the Board of Directors for Virgin Australia. It was also announced that Air New Zealand were unaware of its position of whether they were divesting all or part of their shares.[30]

Air New Zealand's partnership with Virgin Australia ceased not long after the decision to withdraw from the board and sell its equity stake.

Head office

Virgin Village, the Virgin Blue Holdings Limited head office in Bowen Hills, Brisbane

Virgin Australia Holdings has its head office in Virgin Village in Bowen Hills, Brisbane. As of 2008, 1,000 employees work at Virgin Village.[31] The building, with about 13,220 square metres (142,300 sq ft) A-Grade office space, was triple net leased to Virgin Blue.[32]

As the airline started operations, it decided to place its head office in the Brisbane area. Brett Godfrey, the-then chief executive of Virgin Blue, said in 2006 that the decision "was a long considered one and has worked well."[33] The airline originally had its head office in Fortitude Valley. The airline purchased a $61 million site in Bowen Hills for its new head office. The firm Sunland Group, which had acquired the Bowen Hills site for $8 million in 2005, had scheduled to complete the new head office in March, and the airline would be ready to move into the new head office by August of the following year.[34] The current head office facility, Virgin Village, formally opened on 17 October 2008.[35]


  1. ^ "Virgin Australia to exit Bowen Hills for Flight Centre's Southbank HQ". Executive Traveller. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  2. ^ Daniel, Zoe (4 September 2001). "Virgin Blue boss jokes about buy-out deal". ABC Radio National PM. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  3. ^ a b Meier, Michael (26 July 2006). "Virgin Blue - Defining a New World Carrier". Celway Group. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  4. ^ Maiden, Malcolm (23 January 2003). "Patrick's move on Virgin Blue has a sense of déjà vu about it". The Age. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  5. ^ Virgin Blue Holdings. "Toll Announces Payment of an in Specie Dividend To Toll Shareholders, Satisfied By Distribution of Virgin Blue Shares". Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  6. ^ Stephen Mayne (14 July 2008). "Toll quits Virgin Blue, books $1.3 billion loss". Crikey. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  7. ^ Giles Parkinson (14 July 2008). "Toll's Virgin Blue solution". Business Spectator. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  8. ^ Georgina Bond (21 January 2011). "Air New Zealand pays $188.9 million for Virgin stake". National Business Review. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  9. ^ Air NZ revealed as buyer of 3pc additional Virgin stake The Australian 6 June 2013
  10. ^ Singapore Airlines buys 10% stake in Virgin Australia BBC News 30 October 2012
  11. ^ Singapore ups Virgin stake to 20 per cent Sydney Morning Herald 24 April 2013
  12. ^ Tiger air becomes part of Virgin 8 July 2013
  13. ^ "Media Releases | 2013". Virgin Australia. 11 April 2013.
  14. ^ "Virgin Australia pays $1 for Tigerair stake". The Australian. 17 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Virgin Australia plans full ownership of Tigerair Australia". Australian Aviation. 17 October 2014.
  16. ^ "About tigerair".
  17. ^ Whitley, Angus (31 May 2016). "Billionaire Chen's HNA to Acquire Stake in Virgin Australia". Bloomberg. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Air NZ sale of Virgin stake to Nanshan completed". Australian Aviation. 21 June 2016.
  19. ^ "Air New Zealand sells off remaining Virgin Australia stake". Australian Aviation. 14 October 2016.
  20. ^ Dobson, Paul Warner (5 November 2016). "Virgin Australia flying towards insolvency?". Headline Hamster.
  21. ^ Bingemann, Mitchell (4 November 2016). "Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti slams analyst's cashflow 'crisis' claim". The Australian.
  22. ^ Khadem, business reporter Nassim (25 March 2020). "Virgin Australia stands down 8,000 of its 10,000 staff". ABC News. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Virgin Australia suspends domestic flights during coronavirus crisis". ABC News. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  24. ^ Virgin Australia forced into voluntary administration, thousands of jobs at risk, after coronavirus restrictions cripple cash flow ABC News 21 April 2020
  25. ^ Shortlist of four suitors in the running to take over Virgin Australia ABC News 18 May 2020
  26. ^ "New owners plan to fly slimline Virgin". Australian Financial Review. 26 June 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  27. ^ "Virgin Australia HQ to remain in Brisbane under Government's $200m deal with winning airline bidder". ABC News. 26 June 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  28. ^ Bain Capital becomes the new owner of Virgin Australia after creditors agree to $3.5 billion deal ABC News 4 September 2020
  29. ^ "Richard Branson Sticks With Virgin Australia And Buys 5% Stake". 5 October 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  30. ^ "Air NZ set to ditch Virgin stake".
  31. ^ "Virgin Blue seeks shelter in Brisbane". The Australian. Australian Associated Press. 17 October 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  32. ^ "Virgin Blue National Headquarters, Brisbane - new 12 year lease." Jones Lang La Salle. Retrieved on 9 February 2010.
  33. ^ "Virgin Blue In State Of Excitement Over New Invest Queensland Campaign." Virgin Blue. Monday 6 March 2006. Retrieved on 8 February 2010.
  34. ^ Robins, Brian (31 March 2008). "Sydney chosen to be headquarters of V Australia". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  35. ^ "The Year That Was." 2009 Virgin Blue Annual Report. Retrieved on 8 February 2010.

External links

  • Official website