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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Australia's second largest airline Virgin posts $75 million 6-month loss, blames competition

SYDNEY - Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd., the country's No. 2 airline, Friday reported a first-half loss of 83.7 million Australian dollars ($75 million), as airlines increased seat capacity faster than passenger demand in the domestic market.

The loss for the six months through December 2013 was a dramatic fall from the AU$23 million profit for the same period a year earlier.

Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said the result reflected tough trading conditions across the entire industry.

He also blamed Australia's carbon tax, which cost the airline AU$27 million during the half. Australia's new government plans to repeal the tax which is levied on the country's biggest carbon gas industrial polluters.

"The Australia aviation market continues to be impacted by the significant capacity growth which occurred during the 2013 financial year, compounded by weak economic conditions and the inability to recover the cost of the carbon tax," Borghetti said in a statement.

Australia's biggest carrier, Qantas Airways Ltd., on Thursday said it will cut 5,000 jobs and posted a first-half loss of AU$235 million.

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