An influential adviser to large investors has rebuked Virgin Australia's board for what it described as "high levels" of pay for chief executive John Borghetti.
Before the airline's annual meeting this month, CGI Glass Lewis has urged shareholders to vote against Virgin's remuneration report and the granting of share options to Mr Borghetti.
The rebuke will be largely symbolic because Virgin's four largest shareholders - Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Air New Zealand and English businessman Richard Branson - are expected to vote in favour.
The big four's combined holdings amount to more than 70 per cent.
For the third year in a row, CGI has urged a vote against the remuneration report because of a "lack of justification" for what it deems high levels of pay for Mr Borghetti.
His statutory pay totalled $3.7 million in a year in which Virgin slumped to a $98 million loss. The pay included a contractual bonus for the takeover of West Australian airline Skywest and the purchase of a controlling stake in Tigerair Australia.
The board also decided to boost his base pay by $350,000 because Virgin's restructure was ahead of schedule.
CGI pointed out to its clients that Mr Borghetti's fixed pay was about 70 per cent higher than the median for his counterparts at similar-sized companies.