Had BGH made it to the final two, the outcome could have been very different because it had not engaged at all in talks, according to sources.
A final decision will not be made until the end of the month but the State Government said engagement with the final two – Cyrus Capital and Bain Capital – had been “very positive” and engagement would continue.
“The Queensland Government remains committed to ensuring Virgin Airlines remains as Australia’s second airline, that its headquarters remain in Brisbane and that regional routes are maintained,” Treasurer Cameron Dick said.
“This is a very positive step for Queensland.”
Bain has talked about taking Virgin back to its Virgin Blue days as a low-cost airline and “making flying fun again”, but travel industry leaders such as Flight Centre’s Graham “Scroo” Turner have doubts about that strategy and claim Virgin would need to be a full-service airline.
Bain also has recruited former Gold Coast federal MP Steve Ciobo as an adviser to the bid.
Virgin liquidator Vaughan Strawbridge said Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners were well-funded, had deep aviation experience and saw real value in the business and its future.
Cyrus has links to Virgin founder and shareholder , but the entrepreneur has yet to confirm any involvement.
The two launched Virgin America together in 2005.
It is still the intention to have a binding agreement from the successful bidder in place by 30 June
Strawbridge said there would be speculation that entities bidders that missed out on the final cut, as well as others, could become involved in some capacity with the remaining parties.
“That will, of course, be a matter for them,” he said.
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