At 6 pm today (15 May 2020), the deadline for non-binding bids to purchase struggling airline, Virgin Australia will be up. With a number of keen buyers in the mix, we’re itching to know the future of our friends in Red.
Today’s the day at 6 pm. That’s when the deadline closes for cashed-up companies to place their non-binding bids to Administrators Deloitte, as new potential owners of Virgin Australia.
This milestone means that it’s almost time to look into that gorgeous quartz crystal ball and determine the fate of Virgin Australia.
Will the air be kept fair?
If you’ve got a spare fortune, and wish to get involved, you best jump on it – pronto!
Who are the front runners?
Ever since Virgin Australia went into administration on April 21, owing around $7 billion, the growing list of contenders has been an interesting read.
While official names have still not been mentioned, it’s believed parties interested in buying the airline include Australian private equity group Ben Gray, American specialist airline investor Indigo Partners and Canadian investment group Brookfield.
West Australian mining magnate, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest of Fortescue Metal fame was also believed to be putting together a consortium bid.
Oh, and of course, the surprising new contender, the Queensland Government.
“It is so important for us to protect Queensland jobs, flights to regional Queensland, keeping the airfare, keeping airfare lows, and, of course, keeping the headquarters right here in Queensland.”
Cameron Dick, Treasurer, Queensland Government
While 20 separate parties showed initial interest, it’s estimated that about eight committed bidders would be in the race by close of business today.
Virgin Australia is currently 90 per cent foreign-owned with Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Chinese conglomerates HNA Group and Hanshan owning 80 per cent between them while Richard Branson’s Virgin Group still owns 10 per cent.
What happens now?
While few people really know what exactly is going on, the main crux of this situation is, once the bids are in tonight, the administrator will assess each application and look to make a decision on the new owners by 30 June.
After that announcement, we should start to get a clearer picture of what the new and improved VA will look like and what happens next.
The next creditors meeting is scheduled in August and Deloitte has pledged that customers who booked flights before Virgin entered administration on April 21 will be given a “conditional travel credit” of the same value.
So far, Deloitte says Virgin Australia has received around 340,000 requests for refunds after cancelling 65,000 flights between March 1 and April 30 due to the fallout from the pandemic.
Deloitte estimates that the administration process will be finalised by, at the latest, mid-August 2020 – maybe.
Virgin Velocity is back
“Velocity is pleased to resume offering Virgin Australia domestic flight redemptions for our members for travel to some of our most popular domestic redemption destinations from 1 September this year,”
Virgin Australia spokesperson
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