Struggling airline Virgin Australia has requested an immediate trading halt on the ASX, pending an announcement to the market.
In a statement, Virgin said the trading halt was necessary as “it continues to consider the issues brought about by the COVID-19 crisis” including discussions about financial assistance and restructuring alternatives.
The Federal Government is considering funding Qantas and Virgin Australia to keep domestic flights operating during the coronavirus pandemic.
9News understands the government is close to signing off a package worth tens of millions of dollars to keep both airlines operating and their fares affordable.
Both airlines have dramatically cut their schedules, and stood down thousands of workers since travel bans were introduced last month.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has been locked in talks with the airline chiefs to try and reach an agreement.
The funding would be in addition to the $1 billion the Federal Government has already committed to the local airline industry.
Any Federal Government bailout for the airline industry should not be targeted at a single carrier, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Today.
Virgin Australia has approached the government for a $1.4 billion loan to assist the airline through the crisis, but has so far been unsuccessful.
Mr Morrison told Today that any government financial aid should be offered on a “sector basis”.
“We’ve been very consistent in the support we’ve provided in the economy has been sector-wide,” Mr Morrison said.
“We haven’t been picking any winners or picking any favourites here. What we’re doing is ensuring we’re giving sector wide support which has been significant to the aviation sector.”
Virgin Australia last Thursday suspended all of its domestic flights apart from a single daily route as the airline battles with strangle coronavirus measures.
A Virgin Australia spokesperson said the airline would only operate a commercial Sydney to Melbourne service six days a week from Good Friday until June 15.
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