(BBC) – Virgin Australia has confirmed it has entered voluntary administration – making it Australia’s first big corporate casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
The country’s second-largest carrier cut almost all flights last month following wide-spread travel bans.
It was already struggling with a long-term A$5bn (£2.55bn; $3.17bn) debt.
The airline is now seeking new buyers and investors, after failing to get a loan from Australia’s government.
Virgin Australia chief executive Paul Scurrah said: “Our decision today is about securing the future of the Virgin Australia Group and emerging on the other side of the Covid-19 crisis.
“Australia needs a second airline and we are determined to keep flying.”
Meanwhile, Sir Richard Branson – whose Virgin group is a part-owner of Virgin Australia – has offered a Caribbean island as collateral to help get a UK government bailout of Virgin Atlantic.
Shares had been suspended in the firm for the past fortnight as it struggled to find a survival plan.
Canberra refused a request from the company for a A$1.4bn loan, but in the past month had announced around A$900m in support for all local airlines.
Virgin Australia has turned just two statutory profits in the past decade.
It is part-owned by a number of entities including the UAE government, Singapore Airlines, China’s HNA, and Sir Richard Branson’s Group.
It employs about 10,000 people directly and another 6,000 through ancillary businesses.