Richard Branson is backing the rebooted Virgin Australia with optimism and a splash of cash, taking up a fresh stake in the airline after his previous 10% holding was wiped out.
"I'm delighted that Virgin Australia is ready for take-off once more, soaring out of administration, with a clear future direction to fly towards," Branson said in a statement issued to media overnight.
"We're very optimistic about the future and enormously proud of all of the Virgin Australia team."
Branson's Virgin Group confirmed it had secured 5% in the airline, which was removed from the ASX earlier this week following the transfer of all shares to Bain Capital.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Branson was "in talks to take more than 5%, however Bain was keen to retain as much of the equity as possible given its big financial commitment to recapitalise and restructure Australia's second biggest carrier."
Virgin Group is now the airline's second-largest shareholder after Bain Capital, with the Queensland Government in third place as part of a $200 million package offered through its QIC investment arm.
It's not known how the new Virgin Group agreement addresses the contentious issue of licensing fees paid to Branson for the use of his Virgin brand, which were previously pegged at around $15 million per year.
After Virgin Australia collapsed into administration on April 21, Branson said he was determined to see the airline survive and thrive.
"We will work with Virgin Australia’s administrators and management team, with investors and with government to make this happen and create a stronger business ready to provide even more value to customers, competition to the market, stimulus to the economy, and jobs for our wonderful people."