Virgin Australia is currently in administration, Australia’s version of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The perennial money losing airline became the largest victim so far of the coronavirus crisis, after Australia’s government declined to provide it with subsidies.
The airline does, however, continue to operate some flights being funded by the government to support essential domestic air travel.
While Deloitte, as administrator, seeks to find new money to restart the carrier, it’s also going to be restructuring the airline’s debts. Since Virgin Australia reportedly owes about US$10 million to the Perth airport in unpaid fees, the airport decided to block a Boeing 737-800 from taking off as a way of physically securing their claim – using a bulldozer.
The airport, which has taken liens against four Virgin Australia planes, also blocked an Airbus A330 with a vehicle. These aren’t planes Virgin Australia is currently using. If they emerge from administration they aren’t likely to need their full fleet anyway. However physical ‘possession’ of the aircraft is meant to secure the airport’s negotiating position as it seeks payment of charges due.