Virgin-Tiger deal 'a plus for market'

Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti insists his airline's bid to take control of Tiger Australia will prevent Jetstar from creating a monopoly at the leisure end of the country's air travel market.

Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti insists his airline's bid to take control of Tiger Australia will prevent Jetstar from creating a monopoly at the leisure end of the country's air travel market.

As he faces a longer wait than expected for a decision from the regulator on the deal, Mr Borghetti also made clear that Tiger's Singapore parent was serious about its threat to pull out of Australia if Virgin was prevented from taking a 60 per cent stake in the budget airline.

The competition regulator last week delayed its decision because it wanted more information.

Mr Borghetti said Jetstar had been focused on an "enormous expansion" in the domestic market, and the Tiger deal would "stop the budget market becoming a monopoly".

"It allows us to go back and compete, and do what we did so well when we were Virgin Blue at the bottom end of the market," he said. "It is good for us, it is good for the market, it stops a monopoly - that is pretty compelling."

The regulator has reservations about the deal because it will effectively return the country to an airline duopoly.

Mr Borghetti's latest comments come as Virgin's $100 million bid for West Australian regional airline Skywest cleared a further hurdle on Wednesday when its shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal.

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