Private investment firm Bain Capital has entered into an agreement with the administrators of Virgin Australia to become owners of the airline.

The offshoot of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group was the second largest airline in Australia when it collapsed in April.

Boston-based Bain Capital, a joint venture partner of Branson’s start-up cruise line Virgin Voyages, has reached the agreement with administrators Deloitte.

The deal is reportedly expected to be completed in August.

Virgin Australia chief executive Paul Scurrah said the agreement was a ‘significant step’ towards securing the future of the airline.

“This is a great day for Virgin Australia and a huge milestone as we move forward with Bain Capital, he said.

“Bain Capital has spent many hours over the past weeks speaking to us and getting a deep understanding of our business and working to secure a deal with our administrators. We know they are committed to investing in the airline and we are thrilled to be working with them into the future.”

Scurrah said Bain’s investment will “cement our future as a major Australia carrier”, “secure thousands of direct and indirect jobs” and “bring competition to millions of customers”.

He added: “It was always the goal to bring our airline out of administration as quickly as possible in a stronger financial position and this announcement brings us a step closer to that.”

Mike Murphy, Bain Capital’s managing director in Australia, said: “Our investment and plan for the airline will support and celebrate Virgin Australia’s unique culture and protect as many jobs as possible for the short and medium term in a way that will make significant jobs growth possible.”