Former Virgin boss John Borghetti appointed to Brisbane airport board

March 02, 2020
Borghetti Virgin Tigerair Tasmanstep down
Former Virgin boss John Borghetti.

Former Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti appears to have failed to get the Jet A1 out of his system and has rejoined the industry as a director of Brisbane Airport Corporation.

Borghetti, who headed Virgin Australia for nine years and worked his way through the Qantas ranks to become executive general manager, was appointed by BAC shareholder and global fund manager IFM Investors.

BAC chief executive  Gert-Jan de Graaff said the appointment brought decades of experience across the aviation industry to the role.

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“BAC is fortunate to enjoy the experience and insights of a Board with vast airport, investment, governance and infrastructure experience,” he said in a statement.

“John Borghetti’s appointment further strengthens our capacity and I know the BAC team will be excited to be able to learn and benefit from his insights.”

Borghetti joins the board as  BAC is poised to open its long-awaited new runway on July 12 and noted the airport had been “at the forefront of airport development and innovation in Australia”.

“With the opening of the much-awaited new runway in July this year the opportunities for Brisbane Airport are immeasurable and I look forward to working with the rest of the Board to support management to deliver on that enormous promise,” he said.

Borghetti became Virgin’s chief executive in May 2010 and set about reinventing Virgin as a full-service carrier, competing with Qantas for the premium market while acquiring low-cost carrier Tigerair Australia to cover the low-end Australian leisure market.

He came from Qantas where he held a number of senior executive positions after starting his career in the company’s mailroom. He was the executive general manager of Qantas for six years prior to leaving the airline.

Borghetti’s restructure brought a new level of competition to a domestic premium market that had been dominated by Qantas since the demise of the flying kangaroo’s long-standing rival, Ansett Australia.

But it was a strain on the airline’s resources, prompting Virgin to add a series of equity partners, boosting its costs and making profitability elusive.

He was appointed an officer of the Order of Australia in 2017 for his services to the aviation industry.