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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Trouble in Paradise for Virgin?

Could there be trouble in paradise for Virgin Australia?  Reports in today's Courier Mail suggest Virgin is looking to move lock stock and barrel from Brisbane to Sydney.


This has always been on the cards since John Borghetti took the reins at VA and moved his office down to Sydney, but now it looks like Virgin Village (the VA corporate HQ here in Bowen Hills) may be following him.

As a worker in a business based in the same street as Virgin I will be sad to see them go, as an avgeek I am distraught at the idea of the only Queensland based airline wanting to go join other Sydney-centric airlines such as the National carrier who despite still carrying the name of the state it was born in has all but abandoned QLD.  As a friend of some of the employees here at Virgin Village I am disappointed that they will either be forced to move to SYD to continue with the airline or lose their job if they dont want to uproot their families from Brisbane.  But as a businessman & realist I can see where Virgin are coming from when looking at the facts as presented in this article.
The threatened pullout comes as Virgin tries to tender for several routes, either regulated or subsidised by the government, including to Roma, Longreach, Cloncurry, Biloela, Bundaberg and Charleville.
Qantaslink's contracts for these routes are due to expire in March, and Virgin has been seeking to have the market deregulated to give it a chance to fly them.

But the airline has been told, unofficially, that the Government's mind is made up, and Qantaslink's contract will be extended for another two years.
A spokesman for Transport Minister Scott Emerson yesterday confirmed that was the case.
I have not been a fan of the way the Newman LNP government has treated the people of Queensland in the first  part of its term in office and I am appalled by the way it seems to be treating Virgin in this instance.  Not only as stated in the above quote, but also later in the article where the premier himself hasn't once mentioned the airline yet on several occasions has waxed lyrical about Qantas in parliament, I take issue with favouritism in politics when there are more than one major player in an industry, especially when both are Australian companies.  Also I don't like the fact the QLD government are dooming regional Queenslander's to exorbitant fares on QFLink to these smaller centers when fares to other regional ports have dropped dramatically when the competition of Virgin has entered the market.

I know I am slightly biased as I rate VA above QF in terms of its value to us the travelling public, and myself in general, but when a premier and government favour an airline that isnt based in its state, over an airline based in its state and provides thousands of jobs for Queenslander's as well as other financial inputs to the QLD economy with the associated costs of running a major corporate office.

Read the full article as published today HERE

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