Virgin Australia has announced it has entered voluntary administration.
The move was expected after it was forced to cut almost all of its flights when wide-spread travel restrictions were imposed in March. It has about 10,000 directly employed staff and a further 6,000 through ancillary businesses.
The airline – Australia’s second largest – said it is seeking a buyer, after failing to obtain a A$1.4bn loan from the Australian government.
Paul Scurrah, Virgin Australia’s chief executive 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.”
The audit and financial consulting specialist, Deloitte was appointed as the administrator on Monday. The company said it will try to pay off creditors, restructure the airline’s debt and find a buyer.
Virgin Australia had a fleet of about 130 aircraft and performed about 31% of Australia’s domestic flights, while Qantas had around 58% of the market.