Virgin Australia is racing against time to find enough cash to save itself from going into administration.
Now, the airline could be thrown a lifeline by the NSW Government if it makes one rather large sacrifice: Give up its Brisbane headquarters and move to western Sydney.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet revealed on Sunday that the State Government and the airline had conducted “significant discussions” around financial assistance to keep Virgin in the sky.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sharri Markson, Mr Perrottet said a move to western Sydney from headquarters in Brisbane was part of the discussion, and that the government had a “strong interest” in keeping the industry competitive.
“If Virgin were to consider being a tenant in the Aerotropolis in western Sydney as that second airport comes online, that would be a very positive thing,” Mr Perrottet told Markson.
“I raised that with Virgin over time. It’s obviously part of the discussions that we’re having at the moment.”
RELATED: QLD government offer $200 million lifeline
Could Virgin Australia move their headquarters to NSW?Source:Supplied
Mr Perrottet said no decision had been made, and any proposal consideration would need to go to Cabinet and “be in the best interests of the taxpayers of our state”.
“Any decision would need to be in the best interests of the taxpayers of our state,” he said.
News.com.au has contacted Virgin Australia for comment.
Virgin and Qantas have so far received assistance in the form of a $165 million injection from the government to support them running domestic services for the next eight weeks.
On Sunday, the Queensland government put $200 million on the table to assist the airline, but said other states would need to chip in to save the company.
Queensland’s development minister Cameron Dick said the $200m bailout deal offered to Virgin Australia by the state aimed to “ensure the two airline policy can continue”.
“If we’re going to get through this pandemic with two national airlines, if we’re going to have two national airlines at the other side of this pandemic, then all governments need to come together to ensure that is the case,” he said during a press conference this morning.
“Queensland can’t do this on its own. We need a national response. This is a national airline weathering a national crisis and it needs a national response which is why we’re asking the Australian government to take the lead on this.”
RELATED: Government won’t give airline an individual bailout
Virgin CEO Paul Scurrah is still in talks about how to save the airline. Picture: Glenn Hunt/The AustralianSource:Supplied
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Mr Dick said it was important for all states and territories to come together to ensure Virgin comes out on the other side of the pandemic.
He said Queensland didn’t want to see Virgin workers lose their jobs, where 5500 people are employed at the airline’s Brisbane headquarters alone.
“We want to keep the air fair. We know on routes where there is only a single carrier, the cost of flights can be 20 per cent to 25 per cent more than where there is competition,” he said.
“To have competition means that prices are lower and that’s in everyone’s interests.”
Mr Dick called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “do the right thing by Australia” and help bailout the struggling airline.
However, Mr Morrison said would not budge on independent financial support for the airline, and that any assistance will be provided on a sector-wide basis.
“I’m aware that there are many market-based options that are currently being pursued, and I would wish those discussions every success,” Mr Morrison said when questioned about the Virgin bailout on Thursday.
“As a Government, we appreciate the value of two competitive viable airlines in the Australian economy.
“Any responses the Commonwealth Government will have will be done on a sector-wide basis, and that’s the way we will continue to pursue those issues.”
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