Virgin Australia Hires John Thomas as New Aviation Consultant

28th Jun 2016

Virgin Australia has hired John Thomas to be its new aviation consultant. Mr. Thomas is currently the managing director and partner at the consulting company LEK and is head of its Asia Pacific operations. He is also in charge of that firm's aviation and travel business.

Mr Thomas will be responsible for Virgin Australia's domestic and international operations. He will have three VA's executives reporting to him directly. These will be Virgin Australia's Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton, Chief Operating Officer Gary Hammes and Chief Customer Officer Mark Hassel.

Currently, Crompton is responsible for alliances, network and revenue management and sales for Virgin's domestic and international network, Hammes is in charge of daily running of the airline's mainline and covers flight, ground and network operations as well as engineering, while Hassell is responsible for overseeing the company's product and service development, brand management, lounges, customer relations, customer service and cabin crew.

Virgin Australia's Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti said the following in a memo to the staff regarding the new aviation consultant:

"John has worked with many leading airlines on their business strategies for more than 25 years and has played a key role in personalizing the customer experience and building new ancillary revenue streams in the US aviation market. John is also a keen recreational pilot."

Virgin Australia is currently making plans for a capital raising, which will be conducted in July. The airline is already tapping its existing shareholders for $852 million and has reportedly raised another $159 million from China's HNA Group. HNA is the newest shareholder on Virgin Australia's board, with a starting stake of 13 per cent as well as a board seat.

Under the new deal that Virgin is offering its shareholders, they can purchase one new share for every share they hold for 21 Australian cents per single share.

At the moment, Richard Branson's Virgin Group, HNA Innovation (subsidiary of HNA Aviation Group) an, Nanshan Group, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines have all agreed to take their full pro-rata entitlements. Only Etihad has refused to do so.