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Virgin Aust CEO to leave 'within weeks'

Virgin Australia boss Paul Scurrah will step down within weeks once the airline's sale to US private equity group Bain Capital is completed.

The airline on Thursday said Mr Scurrah will be replaced by former head of Jetstar Jayne Hrdlicka, who will take over at the close of the deal, expected in early November.

Unions representing Virgin employees have been concerned about Mr Scurrah's exit and the possibility of the full-service carrier moving downmarket.

However, administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said he had confirmed with Bain that the airline would not be a low-cost one.

Virgin would be a hybrid airline, Mr Strawbridge said, and would appeal to corporates as well as budget-focused customers.

The Australian Services Union has called on Bain to confirm there are no plans for a low-cost carrier and to honour promises to Virgin workers.

"The assurance given to 6,000 Virgin employees that their jobs would be safe, was based on commitments made by Bain during the sale process to remain a full-service airline," it said

"If Bain starts to unwind these commitments and move towards a model of a low-cost carrier, this raises very significant concerns about job security for Virgin workers."

The ASU is seeking a meeting with Bain.

Mr Scurrah, who took over from John Borghetti in March 2019, said he and his colleagues helped the airline through the pandemic, voluntary administration, its sale to Bain and redesign.

He said Virgin was well placed to deliver for Bain for many years.

The airline fell into voluntary administration owing nearly $7 billion in April.

It was later bought by Bain and staff were told at the time it would remain a full-service competitor to Qantas.

© RAW 2020