Virgin likely to stay based in Queensland

Virgin likely to stay based in Queensland

Virgin Australia's (ASX: VAH) HQ is likely to remain in Brisbane following the confirmation that Bain Capital has been named as the successful bidder for the ailing airline.

Speaking to the press this afternoon Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick celebrated the news Virgin had found a new owner, indicating it was quite likely the airline will continue to be based in Queensland.

Dick says the Queensland Government and the Queensland Investment Council (QIC) worked hard with both Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners to retain Virgin as a Queensland-based airline.

The Treasurer says as part of the deal with Bain the Queensland Government has committed up to $200 million and will take an equity stake in the airline plus "other incentives".

Whether Queensland will retain Virgin still needs to be decided upon at the upcoming second creditors meeting of the airline, but Dick says he is confident about Queensland's prospects.

"When Virgin flies again, it will fly from Queensland," says Dick.

"Queensland is absolutely in the box position to ensure Virgin stays in our state.

"We've made a commitment in relation to the airline, but of course we've still go to keep the maroon cards close to the chest because the transaction is not complete yet. But we will be looking to take an equity stake and provide other incentives to ensure Virgin stays in Queensland."

When asked if he knew any further information about the Bain bid, Transport Workers Union Queensland branch secretary Peter Biagini said nothing would be concrete until the transaction is processed but it is likely that Virgin will need to change.

"We're working with Bain, as we did Cyrus, and they both gave us pretty good commitments that this is not going to end up a budget airline, they're going to be a clear competitor to Qantas which is important for us all," says Biagini.

"What we're asking now is that the Federal Government step in and help the aviation industry. It's going to be some time before it's up and running.

"We've been lobbying to try and extend JobKeeper because these are skilled people and if they leave and go into other jobs when the economy needs aviation they're going to have to train everybody. We don't want that to happen."

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