Hefty parcel of Virgin stock changes hands

A large slab of shares in Virgin Australia changed hands on Tuesday, in the airline's biggest day of trading since Air New Zealand became the largest shareholder last month.

A large slab of shares in Virgin Australia changed hands on Tuesday, in the airline's biggest day of trading since Air New Zealand became the largest shareholder last month.

The buyer was unknown but it comes just weeks after Middle East airline Etihad gained approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board to increase its stake in Virgin from 10 per cent to 19.9 per cent.

Virgin's largest shareholders Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines confirmed they were not buyers of the stock. Etihad could not respond to immediate inquiries.

The single parcel of 13.5 million shares sold for 44.5¢ apiece, a total of almost $7 million. It amounted to less than 1 per cent of Virgin's issued capital.

Air New Zealand wants to boost its stake from 23 per cent to 26 per cent but still needs approval from the review board to do so.

Singapore Airlines became Virgin's second largest shareholder several months ago after buying half of Richard Branson's holdings.

It comes as Qantas keeps funnelling money into the coffers of state and territories rather than Tourism Australia.