Virgin Blue considers regional airline operations

Patrick Corporation's Chris Corrigan says that Virgin Blue is considering regional airline operations, as well as New Zealand as a possible starting point for international flights. Australian regional carriers Kendell Airlines and Hazelton Airlines were caught up in the collapse of their owner Ansett last September and have reportedly been eyed by Virgin Blue.

Mr Corrigan said that flights to New Zealand fit into the model of an airline with a single aircraft type. He commented also that Virgin is interested in Ansett's terminals around the country, particularly in Sydney, either to buy or to rent.

Yesterday, Macquarie investment analyst Arthur Lim said that Virgin Blue has become a potential bidder for a cornerstone shareholding in Air New Zealand, made more likely by Patrick Corp's purchase of 50 per cent of Virgin Blue last week.