Virgin Australia chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka has announced her departure after almost four years running Australia’s second largest airline.

Hrdlicka, also a former chief executive of Qantas low-cost unit Jetstar, was appointed to lead Virgin in 2020 after it emerged from financial administration and was acquired by Bain Capital.

Hrdlicka_c BillyPix

Source: BillyPix

Having repositioned as a “value carrier,” Virgin returned to profitability in its 2023 financial year for the first time in 11 years and has reported a strong first half in the current year as it positions for an IPO.

From a large, mixed fleet, it now flies only Boeing 737s, and has strong partnerships with international carriers including Singapore Airlines, United, ANA, Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways, and former shareholder Etihad.

“This is not a decision I have taken lightly,” says Hrdlicka. “The last four years have been heavy lifting across the organisation during the toughest of times.

“We are in the midst of the next phase of our transformation program and there is a lot to do and an IPO to deliver. The next phase of this journey is another 3-5 years, making now the perfect juncture to begin the process of leadership transition.”

Chairman Ryan Cotton saysHrdlicka had led Virgin Australia “through the most turbulent times of its 20 year history.”

The board will soon commence a global search for a new chief executive.