Climate Champion Queensland State Government Bidding to Save Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia. Jordan Vuong from Perth, Australia / CC BY

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who last year paid $320K for Al Gore to visit Australia while in the middle of approving one of the world’s largest coal mines, has just put in a bid to purchase a bankrupt national airline.

Queensland Government announces bid to buy Virgin Australia

By Stuart Marsh • Senior Producer 5:48pm May 13, 2020

The Queensland Government has announced it will bid for ownership of embattled airline Virgin Australia in what it calls “Project Maroon”.

Today the Palaszczuk Government appointed Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) to facilitate the bid, which could take the form of a loan, a guarantee or a direct equity stake.

Newly-appointed Treasurer Cameron Dick said “Project Maroon” will serve as a way to create jobs that have been lost as a result of COVID-19.

“My number one focus as Treasurer is to retain and create jobs for Queenslanders, particularly as we move beyond the COVID-19 crisis,” said Mr Dick.

“We have been very clear. Two sustainable, national airlines are critical to Australia’s economy.

“We have an opportunity to retain not only head office and crew staff in Queensland, but also to grow jobs in the repairs, maintenance and overhaul sector and support both direct and indirect jobs in our tourism sector.”

Read more:

I only have one question; How many new government funded solar panels will it take to offset the carbon sin of saving an entire airline?

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Richard from Brooklyn (south)
May 13, 2020 2:21 pm

Project Moron.

Also it will be great to see their aeroplanes powered by biofuels or stored energy in batteries.
(assuming green consistency)
/sarc off

T Gannett
Reply to  Richard from Brooklyn (south)
May 13, 2020 2:38 pm

What a maroon!

Reply to  T Gannett
May 13, 2020 3:16 pm

Yes, does rather jump out of the page at you, doesn’t it?

I guess “Project Moron” would have been a bit too obvious even for your average Aussie.

Mind you, Virgin Australia is a bit of an oxymoron to start with. I never met any.

Nah, only joking, I love Aussie women. “Well I didn’t, but I do now, you smooth talking bastard”. No need to beat about the outback with them Sheilas.

Dinkum Aussies are the salt of the Earth. Some of the best people I’ve met.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  T Gannett
May 13, 2020 4:16 pm

Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 13, 2020 8:18 pm

Verg’n on the ridiculous.

Reply to  Richard from Brooklyn (south)
May 13, 2020 4:34 pm

Project Moron.

The government needs something like a court jester. The jester’s main job would be to mock stupidity all day long. The court jester would have access to all the important meetings. A little embarrassment at the hands of the jester would prevent a lot of embarrassment at the hands of the electorate.

Bryan A
Reply to  Richard from Brooklyn (south)
May 13, 2020 9:26 pm

Now…gotta be powered by these
comment image

May 13, 2020 2:33 pm

This should be good. Now they can add their expertise in running an airline to their expertise in providing affordable and reliable energy to the people. They can overcharge for tickets, execute schedules to their fancy, and the people will be happy to have a national airline. Not.

Reply to  markl
May 13, 2020 4:30 pm

If they aren’t good at running an airline, they can just subsidize. Can’t lose those jobs ya know.

Reply to  MarkW
May 13, 2020 5:33 pm

The better strategy is probably to encourage wild and crazy young guys to start new airlines. Occasionally one will succeed. When an old inefficient dinosaur of an airline goes bust, there will be one or two successors waiting in the wings. The jobs will survive, just not with the same companies.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  commieBob
May 13, 2020 8:12 pm

Tee-hee: “…waiting in the wings…”

Reply to  commieBob
May 14, 2020 8:33 am

I agree, however for government, the calculation changes when the government is the owner of the airline that’s failing.

Russ Wood
Reply to  MarkW
May 16, 2020 7:50 am

Ah! Just like South African Airways! (That has just released the last two years’ books, showing that it has been losing 5 billion Rands per year).

May 13, 2020 2:42 pm

In the words of that Oscar winning wabbit: “what a maroon!”

Michael F
May 13, 2020 2:47 pm

“We have been very clear. Two sustainable, national airlines are critical to Australia’s economy.
The key word is “sustainable” and Vergin hasn’t been sustainable for years. It has been propped up by Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airlines and two Chinese conglomerates Nanshan Group and HNA Group. They gave up when Covid 19 hit our shores. For Queensland to buy into this disaster is any sane businessman’s nightmare

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
May 13, 2020 2:47 pm

Surely if she invited Al Gorebladder while opening a huge coal mine it proves she has a terrific, albeit expensive, sense of humour?

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
May 13, 2020 7:17 pm

The Queensland State government is $90 billion dollars in the red! And she (the Premier) wants to prop up a dying company, I know who the moron is. Branson started the airline and he only owns 10%, I think that tells you something.

This is another example of the socialist ideal of owning and running big business, doesn’t mean they’re good at it.

May 13, 2020 2:48 pm

Why aren’t airplane tops and sides covered in solar panels? The insolation at 33,000 feet is so great.

Is it that hard to manufacture non-flat panels? Or is the collected energy so feeble that it ain’t worth it? lol

And don’t forget to get educated:

Reply to  Zoe Phin
May 13, 2020 3:23 pm

Zoe, you seem to think you can get 500W from 2W/m^2 input.

In the stratosphere you should be able to get >1kW/m^2 of solar insolation. All you need is to apply the same principal and you will have enough energy to lift the plane. Don’t waste your time with 16% efficient solar PV when you can have 25000% energy gain from simple conduction !

And don’t forget to get educated.

Reply to  Greg
May 13, 2020 3:54 pm

The geothermal heat flux (CHF) is not an input, it’s a HEAT flux, i.e. a differential of kinetic energies.

You believe you can compare insolation to CHF because they are both in W/m^2. But what you constantly fail to realize is that the m^2 in CHF is NOT THE SAME as in insolation.

Insolation shines on an area A m^2.
The m^2 in CHF comes from k and L. L is the DEPTH.

L is 90 DEGREES OFF from A.

How do you justify naively comparing something at a 90 degree angle to something else?

CHF is an aspect of a GRADIENT. It doesn’t tell you the energy delivered to the surface.

“when you can have 25000% energy gain from simple conduction”

The CHF in the air of the atmosphere is 0.00016 W/m^2.

A thermister placed between top and bottom of a 4-meter diameter airplane tube will collect 0.00064 W/m^2 by conduction.

Conduction based power generation needs a large differential, regardless if its in a generally cold or hot domain.

Have you learned anything?

Reply to  Zoe Phin
May 13, 2020 4:17 pm

A thermister placed between top and bottom of a 4-meter diameter airplane tube will only collect 0.00016 W/m^2 by conduction.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 13, 2020 7:18 pm

Definitely interesting.
Only problem: 1 person, 87 mph

I was thinking more of a hybrid solution: Using solar energy to reduce fuel consumption.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 14, 2020 9:50 am

“I did read a proposal for a beam energy plane, which uses a solar power satellite to provide cruising power. This separates the solar collector from the airplane, so the plane gets the benefit of solar without lugging all the panels around. But the cost of launching a large enough satellite is prohibitive.”

What about covering a large balloon with solar cells and beaming the energy from high altitude?

You wouldn’t have to aim the solar pnels on the balloon at the sun since half the balloon would be illuminated all the time.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
May 14, 2020 8:35 am

Solar panels increase weight and decrease aerodynamics. They do this all the time, even when the plane is flying at night.
As always, you ignore all of the physics that don’t line up with your predetermined solution.

Bryan A
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 13, 2020 9:29 pm

Now now now, solar airplanes work very well…so long as you want to take 6 months to reach your destination and are flying alone

Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 13, 2020 10:28 pm

They def don’t work at night time , nor in the Arctic .
Even Greta doesn’t use them . Haha .

May 13, 2020 2:51 pm

No, no, no, the future of transportation is high speed rail. Build the tracks to Hawaii and Australia can meet up with AOC’s line there. It’ll be like that golden spike moment when the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railways met up at Promontory Summit. We could get Michael Mann to drive the last spike.

Besides, Virgin Australia being forced into bankruptcy is sort of the antithesis of sustainable.

Reply to  Scissor
May 13, 2020 3:48 pm

I can’t think of a worse investment than airlines……

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Latitude
May 13, 2020 6:54 pm

Cruise companies?

Bryan A
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
May 13, 2020 9:34 pm

Nuclear…works for Submarines and Aircraft Carriers

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Scissor
May 14, 2020 9:34 am

Ah, high-speed rail…company called Brightline started service between Miami, Ft Lauderdale, and West Palm. They plan to connect to Orlando and Tampa, including high-speed rail. They may even be involved in high-speed rail elsewhere (think they wanted to be in TX and CA).

Just a blip on the radar until Virgin became a minority investor and was going to lend its name for branding/marketing. With that news, anything and everything Brightline had accomplished became a Richard Branson accomplishment even though neither he nor Virgin had been involved at all to that point.

Of course, the name transition was originally supposed to start mid-2020 from Brightline to Virgin Trains USA. Not sure that name branding is as pretty today. Not to mention they laid-off 250 of their 300 south Florida staff in March due to COVID-19 halting service.

May 13, 2020 2:56 pm

How many new government funded solar panels will it take to offset the carbon sin of saving an entire airline?


Reply to  sycomputing
May 13, 2020 7:26 pm

Sycomputing the Queensland State government is already $90 billion in the red, wind and solar are likely to have contributed that.

Was a funny comment though, made me laugh too.

Reply to  Megs
May 13, 2020 9:06 pm

Apologies, Megs.

‘Twas solely the irony of the statement that was humorous, not the background facts. Of those facts I had no knowledge.

Reply to  sycomputing
May 13, 2020 9:27 pm

We all see the funny side of a serious statement at times Sy, it’s the leftist PC brigade who are miserable sods.

May 13, 2020 3:01 pm

Given the amount of Chinese money flowing into the Australian Labour Party, the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board should declare the Queensland labour government an agent of foreign influence, and therefore deny them any right to bid for the assets of Virgin Australia.

May 13, 2020 3:40 pm

The Queensland Labor government is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the union bosses.

It’s a fact that every Labor government-run commercial project in Australia comes in at least 30% more costly than equivalent private sector enterprises. Why? Because Labor governments are totally commanded by union bosses to ensure that union financial interests take top priority over every other outcome.

If the Virgin Australia acquisition comes off, its balance sheet will be sucked dry in no time, and then it will be run into the ground through overly generous pay & conditions for the unionized workforce, in the same way that Australia’s auto manufacturing industry was.

Andre Lewis
Reply to  Mr.
May 13, 2020 5:38 pm

As a Queenslander I can confirm this comment is absolutely correct. Moreover the Labor government is now wanting to buy an airline that is completely broke and if allowed to do so with effectively add the cost to current A$90 billion plus borrowings. This will balloon out in future because of the virus shutdown so they obviously think they can max the credit card by a few billion more buy a failed business.

Chris Hanley
May 13, 2020 3:48 pm

Off topic but sticking to the theme of climate-related hypocrisy, the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund based on the oil and gas is dumping shares in Australian coal-related investments over fossil fuel concerns.
That 95% of Norway’s electricity comes from hydro, merely due to local climate and topography, and the country’s recent wealth derives from North Sea oil and gas seems to have engendered an attitude of national smug self-satisfaction.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 14, 2020 3:25 am

Yes the dumping of Australian coal was considered a brilliant divestment decision from fossil fuels. It’s not until you look at the actual numbers it shows it was nothing more than virtue signalling and was little more than a drop in their oil and gas income and revenues.

May 13, 2020 3:54 pm

Aiming to buy Virgin Australia Airline and also supporting Green Technologies and establishing new Coal Mines shows that Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has a great sense of humor.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 13, 2020 4:51 pm

Either that or she’s a loose cannon.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 13, 2020 5:52 pm

Don’t forget creating jobs for lawyers-

Queensland the State of excitement-
“We have no precedent for this type of action, which is new and exciting, but we don’t know what will happen.”

Ray G
May 13, 2020 4:58 pm

Using Dick and Virgin in the same article sounds humorous to me.

Reply to  Ray G
May 13, 2020 5:45 pm

I can see the acquisition headline now –
“Dick Nails Virgin”

Reply to  Ray G
May 13, 2020 6:00 pm

Ms. Dick? This shit is overwhelming me!

May 13, 2020 6:05 pm

QIC has also been instructed to look at an “optimal partner group”. The optimal partner group would surely have to be the Northern Territory Infrastructure Development Fund as many industries of both states rely so heavily on airlines. Then the new owners of Virgin could rebadge their airline the Queensland And Northern Territory Airline…..
Seriously though Qantas was formed to provide airline services to Queensland and the Northern Territory and did rather well at that in the end. It went on to bigger and better things. We do need two airlines in Australia otherwise Qantas will rip off the Australian public to help finance its overseas interests. New Zealand only has one airline and its local airfares are so high it is mostly cheaper to drive around NZ.

May 13, 2020 6:32 pm

Queensland State has a left-wing government. It is very into climate change action. For years it has fought against the opening of a coal mine owned by Indian company Adani. It almost lost the last state election because of this issue.

It seems any major weather event in Queensland or natural even like bus fires is deemed by the Queensland government to be climate change related.

In a nutshell, Queensland is administered by fools. And the idea of buying Virgin Australia confirms it.

Bob in Castlemaine
May 13, 2020 6:42 pm

When you think about it, what could be more fitting than a bankrupt state buying a bankrupt airline?

Flight Level
May 13, 2020 6:47 pm

And the bailout environmental impact reduction conditions are ?

A 275% environmental fuel surcharge ? Extension of the single engine taxi requirement to single engine take-off, climb, route ? All engines off descent and landing? No flaps?

Reply to  Flight Level
May 13, 2020 9:36 pm

“No flaps?”
Shame, I’ve always considered flaps the most alluring bits !

May 13, 2020 7:27 pm

You’re all missing the point. The next State Election in Queensland is 31 October 2020. ie less than six months away

Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk is just making noises about “saving jobs” when all she really is interested in is saving votes. Labor is already on the nose in Queensland over its opposition to the Adani mine and general antipathy to any scheme that involves mining.

She’ll get the publicity, then later – if no-one else wants to buy Virgin Australia – she will “discover” that there are reasons why the State can’t proceed “even though we want to do all we can to save Queensland jobs”

The whole business of “we need two airlines in Australia” is a furphy. If that’s true then the easiest, cheapest method would be to give Air New Zealand the same rights to domestic services that Virgin currently enjoys.

Just political posturing – ignore it.

Joel O'Bryan
May 13, 2020 8:56 pm

The Climate Voodoo witch doctors demanded a virgin for the pagan climate sacrifice…
and a Virgin they got.

May 13, 2020 9:32 pm

How do you make a small fortune in aviation?
Start with a large fortune.

Rod Evans
May 14, 2020 4:14 am

““My number one focus as Treasurer is to retain and create jobs for Queenslanders, particularly as we move beyond the COVID-19 crisis,” said Mr Dick.

I am wondering if he has considered the normal option of digging trenches then filling them in endlessly. It worked well in other socialist regimes.
The opportunity for a strictly Australian style ad campaign would not be as interesting for trench digging as it is for flying in planes though.
” G’day I’m your Virgin air hostess, come fly with me, Mr. Dick would like you to.

Teddy lee
May 14, 2020 9:52 am

Andre Lewis ,surely there will be some entity waiting in the wings ,hopeful of picking a whole state at a knockdown price .Rest of world following shortly after.

May 14, 2020 10:48 am

Well, you do need an airline fleet to fly the green elites to international power meetings.

May 14, 2020 11:39 am

The only answer to an insane idea is more insanity.
Hence the following response would be the most appropriate and the most Green:

The Infinite Improbability Drive was a wonderful new method of crossing interstellar distances in a mere nothingth of a second, without “tedious mucking about in hyperspace.”

It was discovered by lucky chance and then developed into a governable form of propulsion by the Galactic Government’s research centre on Damogran. As soon as the drive reaches infinite Improbability, it passes through every conceivable point in every conceivable universe simultaneously. An incredible range of highly improbable things can happen due to these effects.

May 14, 2020 5:15 pm

Like the SA Labor Govt with the unicorn Tesla Big Battery slipping in 9 diesel generators chomping 80,000L/hr of refined fossil fuels when push comes to shove the faux doomsters with their unreliables know exactly where their political bread is buttered-
Next year or two with running the joint on batteries as the climate crisis isn’t quite the emergency it’s cracked up to be just at present folks.

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