Keep Virgin Australia/Velocity flying!

Old Apr 8, 20, 1:46 am
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Keep Virgin Australia/Velocity flying!

Hi, Iím a Velocity member and an Airline Pilot with Virgin Australia. Below are a couple of petitions that would help Virgin Australia keep competition alive in Australian skies.



Many governments around the world are chipping in for their major carriers, acknowledging the particularly tough time they are transiting with COVID-19. We believe both Qantas and Virgin need assistance through this time.



There has been significant misinformation in the press about how Virgin is run. From the inside, like all large organisations, itís not without its faults. When it comes to what matters to an Airline Pilot, I can tell you itís an organisation that has safety and maintenance standards as an absolute unwavering top priority. Beyond our door, the obsession is customer service. What you have seen to date, is 20 years worth of work that is built on day by day. Thousands of reports from all staff and customers are continually collated and used when shaping policy and customer experience improvements.



The new CEO Paul Scurrah was brought in 18 months ago to streamline the operation and cut inefficiency that had built up over years of change and rapid growth. He hit the ground running when he was nearly immediately presented with the B737 MAX-8 crashes. He renegotiated leases and pushing back the deliveries to deliver strong outcomes for the balance sheet but also to allow the dust to settle and let the revised model be tested in service around the world before welcoming it into our fleet. Since then he has cut significant inneficiency in the organisation. This has not been without pain for many staff including Pilots. Despite this, his live all staff teleconferences are met with hundreds if not thousands of likes or supportive comments. Staff have rallied behind their leader and its not uncommon in the last few weeks for staff members to offer to come in and work for free to help the company though the tough times. He has refused these offers on both moral and legal grounds. The CEO has made it very clear to all staff we are not anti Qantas, indeed he is advocating for industrywide support.



In short, we have had some balance sheet issues associated with rapid growth of our brand and network. These were necessary to expand into the corporate market. Significant measures were already underway when Covid-19 turned up. Virgin has massive plans for the future, this includes enhanced customer experience and a single fleet of Wide Body next generation aircraft. On the other side of covid, there may be opportunities for Virgin Australia to expand into previously untapped markets. The Narrow Body B737 fleet and Velocity are very profitable.



We need the government to help but what we really need is your help. Please sign our petitions and spread them as far as you can. Friends, relatives welcome to get involved!



Iíll answer any questions you have, keeping in mind, my expertise is the pointy end of the aircraft and airlines these days are much more than what we do. As we pilots say Ďhope to see you out on the line.í.



Prime Minister Scott Morrison.





ē Replacement Airline prospect



This would not become a reality for years. It is likely services would commence in cities, and services to regional towns would reduce if not be non-existent.



If Virgin collapses in the current environment, there is no third company already operating that can scale up, airfares will rise with a monopoly (as seen in Moranbah with a one-way ticket to Brisbane currently over $1,000), and further retard the economyís ability to bounce back.



Virgin was operating when Ansett collapsed and was the third major player in the industry. It still took 12 years to get 70 aircraft operational. Since Virgin has entered the market, Australians have seen a 37% reduction in airfares.



It would take a new entrant at least a year to get a High Capacity Air Operators Certificate (AOC) approved by CASA before any aircraft could take passengers. This new entrant would likely struggle to compete with Qantas and would likely be a Low Cost Carrier (LCC) cherry picking profitable routes between cities, to the disadvantage of regional areas such as Albury, Mackay, Townsville, Port Macquarie, Mildura, Alice Springs and Darwin to name a few. The mining industry will have one airline to tender for their FIFO contracts and this LCC will more than likely be highly susceptible to price war attacks from Qantas, weakening their own ability to survive.



ē Virginís part in the Australian Community



Virgin has played a major part in contributing to the Australian community. The airline has supported industries including the AFL, the Arts, Motorsport, Queensland Ballet and many charities including the Salvation Army. The airline adds $11 billion to the economy every year and support a further 600,000 people that work in hospitality and tourism.



ē Airline pilot skill set



Given the specialist skills required to fly a commercial aircraft it is not easily transferable to another profession. It also takes several years to train a pilot and have them approved to fly a specific type of aircraft.



Sign the Petition



Virgin Australia brings competition to the Australian market, and competition keeps airfares affordable in Australia. But to keep bringing that competition, Virgin Australia needs the governmentís assistance.


The COVID-19 induced economic crisis was not of Australiaís making, but it has been the decisions of the Australian government that have brought the multibillion dollar aviation sector to its knees in a few short months. No commentary here on whether the governmentís decisions were right or wrong, but it is important to point out that it was not mismanagement that brought the airlines to this point of needing further government assistance to survive and recover. With the vast majority of aircraft now grounded, fixed costs are rapidly draining the airlines cash balances whilst the Coronavirus mitigation runs its course.


Consider this if Virgin Australia is allowed to fail, thereís no one ready to take their place.
Australian aviation will become a monopoly. A monopoly brings higher prices and less choice. Last time we saw this was when Ansett failed in 2001 Ė airfares were around 50% higher and it took years for Virgin Blue to bring real competition to the market. And that was in a strong economy!


Sign this petition in support of Virgin Australiaís application for a loan from the Australian Government, and keep airfares affordable.



Sign the Petition
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Old Apr 8, 20, 2:02 am
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From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Australia_Holdings
Ownership
Etihad Airways (20.94%)
Singapore Airlines (20.09%)
Nanshan Group (19.98%)
HNA Group (19.82%)
Virgin Group (10.42%)
ASX listed (8.75%)

91.25% foreign owned
Some of those airlines are government owned/majority owned. They should help
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Old Apr 8, 20, 3:25 am
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I agree, I hope they come to the party. Thanks for the reply.
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Old Apr 8, 20, 3:42 am
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Originally Posted by FlyerAus View Post
I agree, I hope they come to the party. Thanks for the reply.
And Branson could waive his fee to use the Virgin brand. Tens of millions per year IRC. Some details were buried in one of the takeover documents many years ago
The chances of that happening: very very low is my guess. He will continue to click the ticket,
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Old Apr 8, 20, 4:58 am
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
And Branson could waive his fee to use the Virgin brand. Tens of millions per year IRC. Some details were buried in one of the takeover documents many years ago
The chances of that happening: very very low is my guess. He will continue to click the ticket,
So low I believe he has already announced doing it across some Virgin brands
https://news.sky.com/story/coronavir...ments-11967504
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Last edited by ozztraveller; Apr 8, 20 at 5:10 am
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Old Apr 8, 20, 8:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
...
91.25% foreign owned
Some of those airlines are government owned/majority owned. They should help
Well, those foreign owners certainly haven't been pulling any profits out recently.

There are the ~10k VA Australian employees to consider; that's why I followed the links.
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Old Apr 8, 20, 8:56 pm
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Thank you guys really appreciate it.
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Old Apr 12, 20, 7:11 pm
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Itís interesting to follow the QF/VA battle from the outside.

Qantas
1.Demanded an entitlement for cash should VA get a bailout.
2.Seem to be the go to airline for the government for charters (Chairmanís lounge at play here)?
3.Have issues from a corporate perspective protecting their staff with the cluster in SA and recent issues with the last Chile flight. Staff stood down on no pay until government stepped in https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/coron...c5b19ca569ff3f
4.QF received direction to operate a minimum service level domestic network which is government funded, it was only after the fact that VA became aware of this and requested similar treatment, which was forthcoming 24 hours later. Again one has to wonder what effect Chairmanís lounge has on what seems to be preferred treatment? https://www.pprune.org/10748120-post387.html
5. Qantas have refused stood down staff access to sick leave after they were infected by the virus while allegedly working https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-...rning/12142506

By comparison Virgin:
1. Have been clear on needs and intentions, and seem to have prevented staff from issues arising from COVID19, especially on USA ops.
2. Have acted to make sure nothing is wasted as a result of the shutdown, with toilet paper for the needy and excess/leftover food going to the poor.
https://www.news.com.au/travel/trave...76bdd2c9aa83bf
https://www.news.com.au/travel/trave...741436a33e504e


Id welcome anyone to add to the list in case anything is missed but it seems Qantas has acted as a greedy corporate entity with no care for the community or its staff while VA have showed compassion and care, almost polar opposites, on that basis I know who I want around post CoVid 19.

Last edited by markis10; Apr 12, 20 at 7:16 pm
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Old Apr 14, 20, 2:58 am
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Originally Posted by markis10 View Post

Id welcome anyone to add to the list in case anything is missed but it seems Qantas has acted as a greedy corporate entity with no care for the community or its staff while VA have showed compassion and care, almost polar opposites, on that basis I know who I want around post CoVid 19.
Whilst not agreeing to everything you write the difference is Qantas makes money and pays taxes. VAH does not.

If you want a state run airline bail out VAH. If you want an airline who gets its capital from the private sector let VAH fail.
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Old Apr 14, 20, 3:10 am
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Seriously though there is an opportunity to make the bold decision between AU/NZ governments to turn both domestic markets into one large domestic air services market with no alliances allowed between the three players and no cabotage players. That way the market would be big enough for three players - thats a win for NZ public and AU public plus anyone travelling between. VAH could shrink to greatness, NZ can grow outside its domestic market in a rational and profitable fashion and QF would have two bold competitors and would have the ACCC watching it like a hawke.
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Old Apr 14, 20, 3:46 am
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Originally Posted by mikalee View Post
Seriously though there is an opportunity to make the bold decision between AU/NZ governments to turn both domestic markets into one large domestic air services market with no alliances allowed between the three players and no cabotage players. That way the market would be big enough for three players - thats a win for NZ public and AU public plus anyone travelling between. VAH could shrink to greatness, NZ can grow outside its domestic market in a rational and profitable fashion and QF would have two bold competitors and would have the ACCC watching it like a hawke.
Australia - New Zealand is a single aviation market.
Air NZ used to operate domestically in Australia, as Ansett
QF did and JQ do operate domestically in New Zealand.
VA (or the aircraft owners) has(had) 5 off VA branded ATR aircraft stored at Nelson, NZ (I drove past them in Feb)
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Old Apr 14, 20, 10:35 am
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I think this is a bit of a tough situation. Despite usually using QF and JQ I really appreciate that VA's presence is a positive for all passengers. It is pretty hard however to justify the Australian government propping up a company that is 90+% foreign owned. I'm not too familiar with bankruptcy law in Australia, but it's my understanding that it is very much biased towards liquidation as opposed to identifying if the company continuing to trade would be more beneficial for creditors. Perhaps the best thing the government could do in this situation is to introduce legislation that would allow an insolvent VA to continue and restructure similar to how ch.11 Bankruptcy works in the US?
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Old Apr 14, 20, 5:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Australia - New Zealand is a single aviation market.
Air NZ used to operate domestically in Australia, as Ansett
QF did and JQ do operate domestically in New Zealand.
VA (or the aircraft owners) has(had) 5 off VA branded ATR aircraft stored at Nelson, NZ (I drove past them in Feb)
OK so a single immigration zone so all flights could operate as domestic flights through domestic terminals.
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Old Apr 14, 20, 5:25 pm
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Originally Posted by rfarlz View Post
I think this is a bit of a tough situation. Despite usually using QF and JQ I really appreciate that VA's presence is a positive for all passengers. It is pretty hard however to justify the Australian government propping up a company that is 90+% foreign owned. I'm not too familiar with bankruptcy law in Australia, but it's my understanding that it is very much biased towards liquidation as opposed to identifying if the company continuing to trade would be more beneficial for creditors. Perhaps the best thing the government could do in this situation is to introduce legislation that would allow an insolvent VA to continue and restructure similar to how ch.11 Bankruptcy works in the US?
There already exists such provision - search "Safe Harbour" for Australia. In addition Directors, for the short term, will not be held personally liable for insolvent trading generally, however they are still obliged not to allow it.
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Old Apr 14, 20, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by mikalee View Post
OK so a single immigration zone so all flights could operate as domestic flights through domestic terminals.
That's never going to happen. Especially from Au point of view for immigration, customs, quarantine and cash.
For my Au<-->NZ trips I pay on average real government taxes of AU$114 for AU--->NZ and NZ$55 NZ--->AU.
NZ immigration rules and practices are extremely weak compared to Australia as to who is allowed in and can stay/over stay in the country.
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