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Aussie rocker Jon English slams Virgin Australia for smashing his guitar before Sydney gig

Australian rock star Jon English opened his guitar case after a flight from Coffs Harbour to Sydney at the weekend to find the instrument in splinters. 

The British-born Australian musician rebuked Virgin Airlines on his public Facebook page in a bid to "name and shame" the airline, ahead of his Summer Rox the Harbour concert on Sunday.

In pieces: Jon English's guitar.
In pieces: Jon English's guitar. Photo: Facebook

"Sadly, although I arrived in Sydney in one piece, my guitar did not," English posted on Saturday evening. 

"Well, it's just not good enough Virgin. In fact it's downright appalling. What are you going to do about it I say?"

A $5000 keyboard was also wrecked after English and his band checked in their instruments for the Virgin flight to Sydney.
A $5000 keyboard was also wrecked after English and his band checked in their instruments for the Virgin flight to Sydney. Photo: Facebook

English blamed baggage handlers for smashing his guitar, and destroying a $5000 keyboard that belonged to his fellow band member. 

"Time to name and shame. Let's see what happens from here…" he wrote in the Facebook post that had been shared more than 5,800 times by Monday afternoon.

The rocker said it was the second incident in the last three months of "Virgin Airlines baggage handlers running over our musical instruments with their baggage trailers". 

A spokeswoman for Virgin Australia said the airline was aware of the damage to the instruments and had launched a "full and thorough" investigation.

Jon English.
Jon English. Photo: Facebook

"We take this matter extremely seriously and sincerely apologise to Jon English," the spokeswoman said in a statement. 

According to the statement Virgin Australia had "musician-friendly policies in place".

The keyboard case was returned to the rockers smashed to pieces.
The keyboard case was returned to the rockers smashed to pieces. Photo: Facebook

"We will consult with the [music] industry to improve our processes and will take all appropriate action to ensure we remain the music industry's preferred airline," the spokeswoman said. 

General manager of ground operations Roger Lindeman told English that the airline would implement stricter procedures as a result of the incident.

English vented his frustrations by posting a disgruntled message and images of the destroyed instruments on his Facebook ...
English vented his frustrations by posting a disgruntled message and images of the destroyed instruments on his Facebook page.  Photo: Facebook

"Effective today I will personally get involved and ensure we tighten up our procedures and our approach in general to the handling of musical gear," Mr Lindeman told News Corp

"And I will ensure Jon's latest incident is fully investigated and action taken when we identify where the damage occurred," he said. 

Jon English posted a photo of his smashed-up Ovation guitar after he collected it from a baggage carousel at Sydney Airport.
Jon English posted a photo of his smashed-up Ovation guitar after he collected it from a baggage carousel at Sydney Airport. Photo: Facebook

In December members of Perth band Miles Away looked out the window at Perth Airport to see baggage handlers roughly tossing their valuable guitar onto a pile of music equipment.

They posted a video of the incident to their Facebook page.

"Thank you Virgin Australia and Perth Airport for taking great pride in selecting employees who are great at their job while having the utmost respect for fragile musical equipment," the band posted.

"Unnecessary and disappointing.Come show your support for the terrible ground staff at Perth airport by coming to amps and having a good time."

The video post was shared more than 20,000 times and attracted 4200-plus comments in its first 40 hours online. The Miles Away page has only 28,000 likes of its own.

A Virgin Australia spokeswoman said the airline was taking the matter "extremely seriously" and apologised to the Miles Away band members.

"While we cannot comment specifically on the baggage handler in question in order to protect his privacy, a full and thorough investigation is underway," she said.