Episode 96 – Merren McArthur – CEO – Virgin Australia Regional Airline & Virgo Australia Cargo

Merren McArthur is Chief Executive, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) and Virgin Australia Cargo, one of Australia’s ASX100 public companies. VARA is one of the largest charter operators in Australia, servicing the high-growth fly-in-fly-out market for the resources sector. Merren oversaw the complex integration of Skywest Airlines (now VARA) into the Virgin Australia Group, returning the airline to profitability in just 12 months, growing charter revenue by 30 per cent, expanding the fleet by 15 per cent and adding two regional routes.

Virgin Australia Cargo, is the newest businesses within the Virgin Australia Group, with a vision to bring competition to the air cargo market, just as Virgin Australia has done in all other segments of the Australian aviation market. Merren was responsible for developing the strategy and business plan for the new business, building a team of experienced cargo professionals and establishing a cargo handling network of over 60 domestic and international destinations ahead of the successful launch of the business on 1 October 2015.

Merren commenced with the Virgin Australia Group in 2008 as General Counsel and Company Secretary and has held a number of other Group Executive positions since. Prior to joining Virgin Australia she was Chief Advisor at Rio Tinto Iron Ore, based in Perth. Previous positions include Deputy State Solicitor for Western Australia, and Executive Partner at national law firm Allens Arthur Robinson, based in Melbourne.

Merren was a finalist in the 2013 Telstra Business Women Awards and is regarded as a role model across the aviation sector and is a sought-after mentor for female professionals.


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