Virgin’s return to Ballina under doubt

VIRGIN Australia’s future in the region appears uncertain after the airline went into voluntary administration on Tuesday morning.

While Virgin’s operations will continue unchanged during the administration period, there is now no assurance the company will return to Ballina.

Ballina Mayor David Wright hasn’t abandoned hope.

“I can’t see anyone letting Virgin fall over,” Cr Wright said.

“Even though they’re in voluntary administration, it doesn’t mean they won’t come back.”

Deloitte administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said there is a “good sophisticated group of interested parties” in the airline who “have the financial capacity to take this business forward.”

The mayor heard from a high-ranking Virgin official last week, who assured him the airline was intent on returning to Ballina.

“They said they were coming here as soon as possible,” Cr Wright said.

“I haven’t heard anything else, but it’s all uncertain at the moment.

“Things are changing by the day, hour, by the minute.”

Typically, Virgin makes up 20 per cent of air traffic from Ballina airport.

“Virgin runs on different times to Jetstar, that works in really well,” Cr Wright said.

“We’d really like them to stay.”

Meanwhile, Rex has flagged its interest in Ballina to Sydney flights, following its indefinite exit from the airport in March.

Virgin Australia has been contacted for comment.

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