Sir Richard Branson has hit out at the Australian Government in a new video uploaded to social media, following the announcement Virgin Australia has gone into voluntary administration.
On Tuesday, Australia’s second biggest airline announced it would be going into voluntary administration, leaving at least 15,000 jobs in limbo. The airline, which appointed accounting firm Deloitte as administrators, is carrying about $5 billion in debt and its cash flow has collapsed due to the pandemic.
British billionaire and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson wrote a lengthy open letter demanding government support for his ailing businesses, which was published by Branson just hours before Virgin Australia made their voluntary administration official on the ASX.
Following Virgin’s official administration announcement on Tuesday, Branson released a subsequent video on Instagram having a crack at the Federal Government for not helping Virgin Australia out of their financial woes.
“In most countries Federal Governments have stepped in, in this unprecedented crisis for aviation,” Branson says in the two-minute Instagram video.
“Sadly that has not happened in Australia.”
The Morrison government has made it clear that they will not independently assist Virgin Australia, and that the bailout should come from the “deep pockets” of foreign shareholders being Etihad, Singapore and Chinese firms HNA and Nanshan Group.
Speaking to media on Tuesday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Morrison government will continue to provide support to the aviation sector as a whole, and that Virgin employees will be able to access the Jobkeeper package along with other Australians.
Branson, who has a 10.4 per cent share in Virgin Australia, said the voluntary administration announcement was “devastating”.
“I know only too well how devastating the news today will be to you all,” he said.
“But I want to assure all of you and our competitor that we are determined to see Virgin Australia back up and running soon.
“We will work with Virgin Australia administrators and management team … with investors and with government to make this happen and create a stronger business.”
“This is not the end for Virgin Australia.”