Aviation

Row between Virgin and Qantas intensifies, as Scurrah calls for ACCC investigation

Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah hasn’t taken comments made by his rival at Qantas lightly at all, calling on the competition watchdog to investigate Alan Joyce’s recent comments.

The row between the two carriers started on Friday, when Joyce said in an interview that it would be “completely unfair” for the federal government to nationalise Virgin Australia so it can survive the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scurrah then hit back at Joyce, describing his comments as “unhelpful” and insisting that “now is not the time for rivalry”.

Now, Virgin’s CEO has gone one step further by writing a letter to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission supremo Rod Sims to investigate Joyce’s comments.

“I am in daily discussions with government to ensure we get the support we need to get through this and have been advocating on behalf of Virgin Australia Group and the industry as a whole,” Scurrah wrote in an email to staff yesterday, which was obtained by ABC News.

“I have today written a letter to Rod Sims, chairman of the ACCC, to investigate public commentary and an industry-wide campaign that is designed to ensure a lessening of competition in the aviation sector.

“In the meantime, we have been speaking to the media to ensure that this commentary is balanced with a response from us.”

An ACCC spokesperson confirmed to Travel Weekly it had received the letter from Scurrah “and will be looking at the issues raised”.

Meanwhile, Joyce is reportedly urging staff at Qantas to lobby their local MPs to prevent its rival from receiving extra assistance beyond that of other airlines to outlast the COVID-19 crisis.

Travel Weekly has contacted Qantas for comment, while Virgin declined to comment.

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