Aviation

Virgin closes in on search for new CEO

It’s almost crunch time for Virgin Australia’s search for a new CEO.

The new favourite, as reported by SMH, appears to be former Hawaiian Airlines head Mark Dunkerley with some secret sources saying they expect the announcement to come early in the new year.

See also: Virgin responds to backlash over “tokenistic” veteran salute 

As we reported in June, the airline’s current CEO John Borghetti said he would step down from his role by the end of 2019, concluding an eight-year stint.

During his time, Borghetti has turned the budget carrier into a full-service airline fit to rival Qantas.

The airline has run at a statutory financial loss for the past six years, with last year’s reaching a climax at $653 million.

Peter Harbison, executive chairman of the industry analysis firm CAPA – Centre for Aviation told SMH the airline is facing a few “big questions” about how it operates internationally and how it will get itself into a healthy financial state.

Harbison said the new CEO’s first priority should be the airline’s trans-Tasman service, following its recent falling out with Air New Zealand.

“It’s by far the most pressing issue that Virgin has to address at the moment, by country mile,” Harbison said.

Front runners are slowly falling behind, with Virgin’s internal candidates Rob Sharp and Merren McArthur reportedly being ruled out of the race, as well as previous favourites including former Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour and Westpac exec George Frazis, according to SMH.

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