Virgin Australia to depart Sydney and become 100% Brisbane-based?

The Virgin 2.0 footprint could be reduced to make it an entirely Brisbane-based operation.

By David Flynn, July 27 2020
Virgin Australia to depart Sydney and become 100% Brisbane-based?

Virgin Australia could become an entirely Brisbane-based airline rather than continue to keep seperate offices in Sydney, as presumptive new owners Bain Capital work to finalise their blueprint for the rebooted airline.

The Queensland government has already made good on its promise of a $200 million package to keep the airline's headquarters in Brisbane, which state treasurer Cameron Dick described as "the best possible deal we could get to secure as many jobs as possible for Queensland."

However, for several years Virgin has maintained three seperate footprints, with two of those in Sydney:

  • Virgin Australia corporate (Macquarie Place, Sydney)
  • Virgin Australia head office (Bowen Hills, Brisbane)
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer (Grosvenor Place, Sydney)

With all eyes on the bottom line, Bain would be keen to bring all of Virgin 2.0 under the one roof.

Some of that has already started, with Virgin Australia exiting its lease at 7 Macquarie Place – which managers AMP Capital describe as "a boutique 15 level commercial office building" with views over Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour – in May 2020 to share space with Velocity Frequent Flyer at Grosvenor Place.

Approached for comment, a Virgin Australia spokesman told Executive Traveller "we have consolidated our corporate presence in Sydney to Grosvenor Place alongside Velocity Frequent Flyer, allowing more collaborative ways of working."

But the airline could pull the plug on Sydney and relocate entirely to Brisbane, where it's also abandoning its long-held Virgin Village at Bowen Hills for the more centrally-located Southpoint building at Southbank which also serves as Flight Centre HQ.

"The Virgin Australia Group has been looking to relocate its Queensland-based headquarters to a more fit-for-purpose facility for some time," a Virgin Australia spokesman told Executive Traveller.

"We will end our Bowen Hills lease in September and relocate all Brisbane-based team members to the Southpoint building at Southbank where the Group will occupy five floors of the building."

Also read: Here is what Bain Capital's Virgin Australia 2.0 will look like

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2013

Total posts 50

This makes complete sense. All Virgin should go to Qld as having all entities in the one place is a no brainer and also for the fact that I would think that Brisbane rents would be cheaper than Sydney rents.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 533

Knew that was going to happen specially with who has been supporting Virgin in troubled times and who wanted the market to sort itself out.

have heard some airlines stopped paying extra commission to some agents, as those not getting extra bad mouthed them to clients. V2 has to be careful it doesn't become the Flight Centre airline.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 533

I agree Flight Centre is on my banned list, even a AFR article didn't get my money back quick enough.

few people complaining about Flight Centre slow in refunding $$$$$, but FC can't refund until they get funds from airlines etc. + they have laid off something like 6,000 staff, so those left have to process a lot of refunds.

Think some airline say to passengers booked through travel agents, they have refunded $$$ when they haven't at all, to get passengers off their backs & stop them clogging up phone lines/emails.

04 May 2015

Total posts 266

One of the many issues Virgin is left to deal with after John Borghetti's departure...

Word is that JB, who lives in Sydney, didn't want to relocate to Brisbane, and so kept many of the teams based there, rather than having the company's HQ all under the one roof. A good excuse for him to fly up and down the east coast in business class while banning most other staff from doing the same! Good riddance.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 55

This will sound like a silly question to some (probably many) here, but what was the difference in function between VA Brisbane HQ and VA Sydney Corporate HQ?

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 533

JB lived in Sydney and had his throne in a great location

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 370

The Board ( had it been a real board) would have insisted on HQ being with Ops in BNE. The Board is as much to blame as John Whats-his-name.

23 Apr 2014

Total posts 5

A good option could also be to make Brisbane the hub for their long-haul international network. Brisbane is home to the best airport in the country with no curfew and now a second runway. They could offer more long haul international destinations and I believe if they focus on the right areas they wouldn't loose to many existing customers from other states. Not to mention it could optimise other areas of the business such as their cargo network and partnerships The current global travel situation is challenging however it does bring opportunity, I would hate to see Virgin drop the ball again as they have the potential to be a great airline.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 259

The incoming owners of VA pretty much 'deferred' the decision on the future of the long-haul network until 2021 at the earliest (when the COVID related borders come down). Until then, the 777s are pretty much 'stored/mothballed'.

At the moment, VA has got a fleet of owned 777s (which are pretty much unsellable in the current environment), where the entire wide-body aircraft market worldwide has very little to no buyers with all the border restrictions going on.


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