Richard Branson: Virgin Atlantic Will Collapse Without Government Aid

Filed Under: Virgin Atlantic

Update: Richard Branson is now looking to sell his stake in Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic has also announced a major cost cutting initiative.

It’s not a good few days for airlines. South African Airways is nearing liquidation, Virgin Australia is entering administration, and Norwegian’s subsidiaries have filed for bankruptcy.

We’ve known that Virgin Atlantic is also in trouble, and today Richard Branson has made it clear in no uncertain terms what the airline will need to remain alive.

Richard Branson makes plea for Virgin Atlantic

In a blog post published today, Richard Branson makes it clear that without government support, Virgin Atlantic won’t survive:

Together with the team at Virgin Atlantic, we will do everything we can to keep the airline going – but we will need government support to achieve that in the face of the severe uncertainty surrounding travel today and not knowing how long the planes will be grounded for.

This would be in the form of a commercial loan – it wouldn’t be free money and the airline would pay it back (as easyJet will do for the £600m loan the government recently gave them). The reality of this unprecedented crisis is that many airlines around the world need government support and many have already received it. Without it there won’t be any competition left and hundreds of thousands more jobs will be lost, along with critical connectivity and huge economic value.

Virgin Atlantic needs government support to survive

Richard Branson defends himself

While Branson is a likable guy overall, he has gotten some bad press lately, especially in light of the current circumstances. Branson takes some time in the open letter to defend himself, including both his net worth and the tax haven he lives in.

Many have suggested that if Branson is so rich, why isn’t he pouring more money into Virgin Atlantic to keep it alive. His answer?

I’ve seen lots of comments about my net worth – but that is calculated on the value of Virgin businesses around the world before this crisis, not sitting as cash in a bank account ready to withdraw. Over the years significant profits have never been taken out of the Virgin Group, instead they have been reinvested in building businesses that create value and opportunities. The challenge right now is that there is no money coming in and lots going out.

Branson has also been criticized for living in the British Virgin Islands. His defense of that?

There have been comments about my home. Joan and I did not leave Britain for tax reasons but for our love of the beautiful British Virgin Islands and in particular Necker Island, which I bought when I was 29 years old, as an uninhabited island on the edges of the BVI. Over time, we built our family home here.

Necker Island, where Branson lives

Virgin Atlantic was already rejected for a loan

Virgin Atlantic was the first British airline to seek government aid following the COVID-19 pandemic, though the government rejected Virgin Atlantic’s request. The airline wanted a total of £500m in commercial loans and guarantees, but the government told the airline to first seek support elsewhere.

As is the case with many of these government aid situations, the optics aren’t great:

  • Virgin Atlantic is 49% owned by Delta Air Lines, so the British government would be bailing out an airline that’s nearly half US-owned
  • Branson is known for being a billionaire, and it’s never a good look when a billionaire is asking for a government bailout; like many other well known “billionaires,” though, Branson probably doesn’t have as much cash in the bank as we might assume

Interestingly EasyJet has secured a £600m loan from the Treasury and Bank of England, and has secured a further £400m+ from creditors.

Based on what we know so far, it sure seems highly likely to me that the UK would also provide Virgin Atlantic with a loan if push comes to shove. The message from the government seemed to be more along the lines of “try to find money elsewhere first,” rather than “hard pass no matter what.”

EasyJet has received a loan from the government

Bottom line

I feel like it’s highly likely that Virgin Atlantic will get the support they need to stay in business, though I certainly could be wrong. Between the value of their Heathrow slots, their joint venture with Delta, and the consumer benefit of having two long haul airlines in the UK, the airline should stay alive. The question is what form that assistance will come in.

I have to imagine that Branson is now kicking himself for not selling 31% of the airline to Air France-KLM. This was more or less a done deal, but Branson pulled out last minute.

Do you think Virgin Atlantic will make it through this?

Comments
  1. If we are hanging onto Virgin miles for an ANA redemption, should we burn them now and hope ANA will honor if VS goes bankrupt? Or would they be cancelled anyways?

    Any suggestions on what to do with VS miles greatly appreciated.

  2. I made an preemptive (more likely speculative) award booking (first time to try out D1 suite on their longest a350 route, ATL-ICN). My flight is in late September..

    My million dollar question – what happens to existing award bookings if VS gone broke?

  3. He PERSONALLY is probably less invested in keeping it afloat as he is hoping the British Government might be in keeping . I’m not convinced he needs to bankrupt himself in the process of trying to rescue the business, we’re not talking about someone who got rich quick and refuses to re-invest. The society we have setup enables people to build “business value” and cash out. Don’t hate the player. I can’t imagine he spends much of his day to day focusing on this 1 business. Ultimately, he’s doing the right thing of leveraging his voice to get attention.

    But the reality is his business isn’t as important as he might think. I don’t think the UK is big enough to have multiple long-haul airlines. There is plenty of competition on short-haul from the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet. Norweigian was doing pretty well competing with BA and even if they go under I’m sure someone else will fill in the space over time and differentiate in that way (budget focus).

    If necessary, break up BA in the future. For now, let Virgin fail.

  4. My understanding is for award bookings they aren’t paid until you have flown so if VS expires before you fly then your tickets are worthless and you won’t fly unless the flying carrier decides to honor it out of the goodness of their heart.

  5. Richard Branson should sod off!
    Demanding that Tax payers bail out his airline is just beyond absurd!
    He can afford to throw VS a couple of dimes from his 4.4 Billions!

  6. Delta taking ownership stakes in Virgin Atlantic, LATAM, and AeroMexico could well position Delta as the weakest US carrier going forward. So much for that strategy. Ironically, Delta’s stake could also be the back room reason as to why the British Govt. is reluctant to provide aid, thereby putting Virgin Atlantic into a tailspin with no real national entity wanting to take responsibility.

  7. Oh, poor Sir Dickey. The glowing subject of every fourth syrupy LinkedIn post for the past 15 years. Every time a cubicle drone reposts a link about his inane management philosophy or his unsustainable vacation policy, I scratch my head over this cult of a failed record salesman in dire need of a date with a barber.

    Maybe he should first sell off his “private island” before he bothers the taxpayers and the government he‘s foresaken.

  8. I don’t think the word bailout is the right word here. Virgin Atlantic isn’t asking for free money, they are asking for loan like what EasyJet got.

    But “did not leave Britain for tax reasons” is only to convince fools.

    Then again, all these people doesn’t understand the difference between a bailout and a loan.

    So go ahead, enjoy your $1200 check.

  9. Branson seems like a nice guy but frankly I’m surprised at how much money he has been able to make with businesses that are quite mediocre despite their fake marketing facades.

    Some examples:

    Virgin Atlantic – hardly an innovative company these days. I mean, when British Airways’ latest Club product features full suites with doors, most of VS’ Upper Class cabins now look ancient by comparison.

    Virgin Voyages – probably the failure of the century. Branson primarily hired people with no cruise line experience and others who were fired from traditional cruise lines for poor performance. Truly a circus! And to make matters worse, their pricing strategy is insane though that’s not surprising given that the low-skilled staff Virgin Voyages has in its Revenue Management function.

  10. Virgin is one of the best European airlines and puts BA to shame in terms of service and product. Virgin staff are treated very well vs BA – they’re a decent airline and deserve to survive. Without the competition BA would also cut even more corners and hike prices. Air France, Lufthansa, KLM and Finnair are all taking government aid. It would be a grave mistake if the British government let’s Virgin go under and gifts BA a monopoly.

  11. I may be wrong , I may be right, but RB was seling his balance of shares to Delta,(&co) then he decided not to, I think holding oust for better deal,. He then agreeed a better deal, but CV19 has come along, I really liked him, great ideas , great airline, but to me he got greedy, Saying that, Delta have been good, (craig MD i think, great Guy,who is in charge) to Virgin, and UK. This all being said, The staff, airline is wonderful, and myself believe, that they need help. We can recover from chgina at a later date, we must not let this carrier, buckle, .

  12. Would the loss of Virgin Atlantic really be a loss though? On Long Haul British Airways has heaps of competition while on short haul and domestic Virgin Atlantic does not even have a presence.

  13. I don’t enough about the guy to say anything conclusive but there are “paper” billionaires where all of the money is tied up in stocks or real estate and if it goes south they end up with a lot less, or in some cases, no money.

    And I don’t see a huge deal about a loan unless people think it is likely to never get paid off.

    It isn’t as if British Airways deserves any sympathy for their poor management over the years.

  14. It’s a loan not a bailout. Plenty of jobs and future tax money riding on the outcome for the British. They should give him the loan.

  15. @rich

    Well, there’s a reason the banks don’t want to lend him money. And banks have a very strong interest to make the right call, so the loan is likely seen as extremely risky.

  16. I’m w/ @Phil. Isn’t VS in the joint venture now with Delta, AF, and KLM? If so, how much competition to BA is VS providing that won’t be picked up by Delta, et al., or someone else?

  17. I highly doubt Richard Branson has enough cash on hand to rescue an airline of this size. Billionaires don’t have hundreds of millions of cash laying around; most of those money are put into investments be it hedge funds, real estate, and various businesses.

    It would be a shame for UK to loose Virgin Atlantic as competition is the reason why BA raised its long haul business class game. Just imagine US with only one of AA/United/Delta! Yeeks!!!

  18. The problem with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia is the same –

    It would be a tough sell to the tax payer to justify any bail out. It isn’t government money – it’s tax payer money.

    BOTH airlines have struggled pre COVID-19 so can’t lay all the blame at the door of the pandemic. Virgin Australia is suffocating under a huge amount of debt whereas Virgin Atlantic only just started making a moderate profit after years of consecutive losses.

    But back to the tax payer perception – Virgin Atlantic. Majority owned by a multi billionaire that lives on his own island in an offshore tax haven. The other only slightly smaller shareholder one of the US mega airlines. Virgin Australia – nearly ENTIRELY owned by foreign investors and other profitable airlines – SQ, EY.

    And then, does it not set a precedent? If Virgin Australia are entitled to the A$1.4b that they are asking is QF entitled to a sum relative to its size should it ask? Likewise BA in the UK.

  19. @kevin

    If he wanted liquidity, he could certainly take out loans using his substantial assets as collateral. He would need to put his own skin in the game though, which I bet he’s not willing to do.

  20. They’re not like cruise operators that are incorporated offshore for tax, wage, and labour law reasons. They pay UK taxes, it’s not unreasonable that they get some help now. Plus, they’re not massively unprofitable like their Australian counterpart. Maybe asset management firms are just waiting for them to collapse so they can swoop in on the bargain offer

  21. I’m sure that a private island in the BVI is a nice place to live:

    But lets be real hear, the real reason that rich people live there is because of taxes or lack there off.

    Not having ready money is probably true for most billionaires, not just Sir Dick.

  22. @Ray
    Maybe asset management firms are just waiting for them to collapse so they can swoop in on the bargain offer

    Or they believe it can take 18-24 month for long haul travel to fully start up again, and 4-5 years before it reaches the passenger levels air traffic had before the virus happened?

    Lufthansa seems to believe it will be 3-4 years before the passenger levels are back up, hence why they retired close to 20 widebodies, so outside investors would not be alone in taking a bear view of the airline market for the next couple of years.

    Making an airline an bad investment at this time, unless you get a government soft loan of course.

  23. As much as I hate billionaires being bailed out by hard working people, that at the moment, has problems making ends meet. The grimmer fact is that China will buy anything that has a pulse, and at for the moment at a major discount. That includes Virgin Atlantic if they are not bailed out.
    All airlines in the world with a China in their brand name is now going for Virgin Australia, that after the Australian government has declined to help them out.
    I absolutely agree with the EVP of the European commission Margrethe Vestager, when she urges European government to buy up stocks in companies that are of an essential importance to their infrastructure.
    The Panda democracy is coming with a pocket full of western cash, buying up western companies.
    Watch out.

  24. EasyJet was able to secure a loan through the Bank of England backed by the UK Treasury because it has a solid business recovery plan and is seen as viable.

    VS were unable to convince Banks/Investors it has a plausible business plan moving forward so it’s only choice now is the Government loan request with collateral levied against other parts of the Virgin Group, what we don’t know is has the group exhausted its leverage to the max already because the airline has been struggling for years.

    History of rescue funds to the airline industry in the U.K. is not the best and although this is unprecedented I fear they will apply the same rules they did with Thomas Cook and Flybe and let them go.

  25. I wish you had been more critical of the major downgrades of the new VS premium economy product. A huge decline in seat comfort and quality on the new smaller planes replacing the a340s and 747s.

  26. As a British taxpayer I’d be happy for it to go to the wall if it can’t survive without recourse to government funds. Most of its route network will be replicated by other airlines in the future.
    I do like the Virgin cabin crew and service, but that in itself doesn’t justify a raid on the taxpayer’s funds. Jersey European was a more deserving cause on public interest grounds, it didn’t get saved (no thanks to Virgin), rightly so in my view, and Virgin should be left to the same market forces.

  27. His tone deafness is just jaw-droppingly awful.
    He’s a multi-billionaire. Just sell some assets and stop expecting a taxpayer bailout.
    Absolutely pathetic.

  28. Privating the profit and socializing the risk and debt. That has been the way of the last 40 years starting with Thatcher and Reagan. We seem to do this every 10 years or so. But the voters keep the system in play. Don’t blame Branny for his stance. He is playing along and following the “rules”. You’ll get your $1200, $2400 or even $3400 checks. They are getting billions in tax breaks under the CARES act, especially real estate developers.

  29. He also escaped a conviction for VAT (English sales tax) fraud/evasion before he launched virgin atlantic.

    I hope they pull through this – I fly them often from NY to the Uk and have a six figure miles balance with them – but they are in serious trouble, significantly compounded by the fact that they lease most of their fleet, and mortgaged their valuable LHR slots out for capital to the tune of £220m five years ago….

  30. There is going to be a long queue of companies requiring bailouts in the UK. I don’t agree at all that it is inevitable Virgin Atlantic will be bailed out as:
    1) there’s a far higher risk for the govt loaning money to Virgin, which rarely turns in a profit, vs easyJet which is a generally profitable company
    2) limited benefit to the UK other than providing competition to BA on some routes. However as mentioned by others there are limited routes on which BA (and their partners) would become the only game in town
    3) From the standpoint of maximising benefits to the UK economy, saving Flybe would have made more sense but the government weren’t willing to do that
    4) the optics of bailing out an airline 49% US owned, 51% BVI owned

  31. He does have valid points against the criticism, bar why he’s in BVIs, but if you look back many of his Virgin branded businesses have been based on government subsidies and sanctioned monopolies, while not having get optics on taxes. Branson is a great businessman, or at least great entrepreneurial opportunist, and he is excellent at playing a narrative to further the causes of his businesses, but he pursues riskier businesses and not likely to get much sympathy for his narrative at the moment.

  32. If this was indeed a commercial loan and not a subsidy he would find banks to do the deal with.

  33. Lets be realistic Virgin Atlantic product is not up to even British Airways standard , which by the way isn’t a ringing endorsement.

    Compared to Asian or Middle East carriers it’s product offering is very weak.

    Behind all the hyperbole it is no longer a market innovator , it should be just left and it’s slots can be used by other international carriers to put a bit more competition in the London market.

  34. Yes. All billionaires like to privatise the profits and socialise the losses. He has really been insufferable and PC all these years.
    If its only a loan why does he not use the banks and put up the airline as collateral, or issue junk bonds?
    Simple. He will treat any lone from the British government as a grant. The notion that the Chinese will buy it if it goes bankrupt is nonsense as it will have to have a majority British shareholding.
    There are better ways for the UK government to spend their money during this crisis.

  35. There is now in the news that Richard Branson mortgaged one of his islands to rescue Virgin Atlantic.

  36. Any idea of how much time VA has left if they weren’t going to get a loan? Are we talking days or weeks?

    Trying to make some desperate award bookings in hopes that a partner will sympathetically honor them.

  37. Virgin Atlantic was an airline in terminal decline (no pun) before CV19. Any loan by the UK government will be a loss to the taxpayers as it will never be repaid.
    This airline is not a vital national asset. There are plenty others who compete now. And others will appear once this is all over.
    There are far more important things to spend UK money on than this overblown vanity project. Let Delta shareholders cough up – they own 49%. Let Richard Branson get money from the big boy financiers – if it’s such a good bet for the future. No-one will touch it. And nor should we, the British taxpayers. Branson lived by the market. It’s time for Virgin Atlantic to accept it’s over.

  38. If these were more normal times the UK government would not bailout Virgin. It wouldn’t take long for a replacement to arrive as Virgin have incredibly valuable slots and one of the world’s busiest and most important airports. But as these are not normal times (Had you noticed?) A bailout is much more likely because there are no guarantees on a replacement arriving anytime soon. Therefore in order to preserve competition and protect jobs the UK government will bailout Virgin Atlantic. They’ve already forked out for easyJet despite Stelios receiving a massive dividend just as this was kicking off, and then throwing a massive tantrum about it.

  39. Virgin Australia not Virgin Atlantic is in administration.

    No reason that shareholders should be wiped out as a result of any rescue package. The only reason not to do this is that the owners like Branson would rather they not be. If they don’t like the terms let them see what they can get from Warren Buffet.

  40. i can see how the UK is hesitant to give support to an airline that is 49% owned by Delta. It’s probably part of the reason Branson doesn’t want to, or isn’t able to. invest his own money.

    What is Delta willing to do?

    It’s just a loan – unless they still go under. Then maybe it’s a gift. Will Branson do a personal guarantee?

  41. “Branson to mortgage Caribbean island as he seeks Virgin bailout” is being reported by various sources. Not sure of any details.

  42. i am proud to have been wearing the “Red” for twenty years at San Francisco International. Mr. Branson has always taken care of his employees, and I trust he will do all he can. The staff at SFO have always given the best customer service…..we give what the customer expects, and we give it with a smile.

    Carole Marcaletti

  43. @Carl WV

    Yes, I this was reported earlier along with is plea. It made me laugh so hard for 2 reasons. Is an island really a valuable collateral, it doesn’t have resources only expenses. A very illiquid collateral for sure. And another reason would be funny if they actually foreclose a billionaire’s home. I doubt that Necker Island is enough to get the money VS needs.

    Now if he really wants to keep VS alive, he should do like what he did 20 years ago. That time he sold Virgin Records for I think a billion. Today he can probably sell businesses like Virgin Mobile, Virgin Money, or his space ventures Galactic and Orbit to raise money.

  44. Using taxpayer money to give equity holders a longer dated option to hold on to their investment is not in the best interests of the taxpayers.

    I understand the social good but equity is first loss. Dilute them, eliminate them, have them raise market capital.

    If smart people (hedge funds, pension funds, etc) don’t want to invest what does that make the govt?

    If it is such a great investment people will. If it is a flawed business why should the equity optionality be extended to allow those investing in a risky business get a potential wealth transfer from the “people”?

    It is a tricky situation but owning equity is risky. It should not be “heads I win, tails taxpayers lose”.

    Sorry, some hard working guy in Manchester does not need to take the risk of a loan to an airline unless that loan has a substantial risk reward profile (which I assume this loan would not since those investment funds are not jumping up and down to get).

    I understand a lot of workers will be hurt as will consumers but to subsidize a few to scalp the many is just not fair. I understand it is not the airlines fault per se but a weak capital structure that can’t withstand a shock is. Many workers in the UK work hard, save, go without desired items and experiences. Why ask them to involuntarily help those that were not as disciplined?

    Now if they would want to invest in loans or equity in the firm or prepurchase miles, status, etc that is another thing. Though they may not be capable to make an educated decision at least they would have a choice.

    My 2 pence.

  45. I guess it’s better than nothing, but this is more of a PR move than a good faith attempt at raising capital through collaterals. The island is worth very little, in the context of saving an airline, but at least he’s putting something on the table, unlike certain CEOs who refuse to take even a paycut (which isn’t even all of the compensation they receive).

  46. @Michael…i have the same question and there seems to be no response as of now…I dont think it would be a wise idea of issuing airline tickets with this period of uncertainty going on…I think I will convert them into Hilton points

  47. Give him the LOAN – it’s not a bail out as the ridiculous posts keep repeating. It’s a LOAN. Th e competition is needed and why should hundreds of thousands of us lose our miles – we’ve already almost lost our jobs – give me a break!!

  48. Eskimo – Not sure how you would go about putting a valuation on Necker Island, but it is very cool. I was there a half day when shooting some video for a travel show. It was part of a BVI sponsored junket.

    I did get a chance to take a break and do some snorkeling. It was back about 20 years ago before they had the hurricane damage and had to rebuild some.

  49. Same question about using miles for a partner flight redemption for me. Had enough saved up and kicking myself that I didn’t just burn bit by bit. But at the time I wouldn’t have had enough to use on something good.

    I know people have issues with Branson, but I’ve had mostly good experiences with Virgin (not a big fan of new A350 Premium!) and would be very sorry to see them go. Have met some extremely lovely crew and ground staff too – people who resent RB seem to ignore those people who will be jobless. It’s not a nothing to just let a big airline fail like that.

  50. SK – Regarding Hilton point conversion. I have 27K VA miles. You can only transfer in even 10K increments, so just 20K can be transferred, 3 to 2 makes it 30K. At .5 cent valuation I’d get $150 value or so. I think IHG is worse,

    Pre-problems I think VA had about a 1,4 cent per mile valuation for $378.

    I’m debating the issue. Unfortunately you have to call. I wonder if they’ll pull the transfer option.

  51. Let VA go under another replacement will arrive. Branson can liquate other more attractive assets if needed. The guy is full of PR BS. Even a loan is very high risk even with a conversion to equity clause is worthless. This is not a critical national asset and is owned by Delta and a BVI resident. The airline has no assets lots of debt and no short to medium term way of coming close to profitability…hey ot couldn’t consistently make money in good times. It is a failed company and why should the government support it when no private investors/bankers would touch it.

  52. WHY is Easyjet getting a bailout? So poor people can keep going on holiday while ruining the environment.. Virgin Atlantic is a company the UK can actually be PROUD of and they will ultimately save it. The talks about Branson pouring money in are absurd.. first of all being a billionaire doesn’t mean having >1 billion in cash that you can just throw around as you wish. Second, why should he have to pour in his own cash if virtually all other airlines are getting a bailout instead of relying on shareholders or the capital markets?

  53. @Lucky: You say Branson is basically a “good-guy”. Do you know him? He comes over, to me anyway, as a 21st Century playboy, flaunting wealth in personal pursuits: private islands and space travel. I’m not overly sorry to see that smug grin being not so smug at the moment.

    @David – Delta (a US corporation last time I looked) owns a pretty big slice of Virgin Atlantic. Can’t see why the UK taxpayer should bail a US shareholder. Oh, and TBW, Virgin were happy to let FlyBe go to the wall. Sauce for the goose…

    I really like Virgin Atlantic – one of the best to cross the pond with, but that’s no reason to bail them out. The UK government could purchase equity as their shares must be great value. They could get the 31% that KLM/AF wanted (and couldn’t get) at a really knock-down price and maybe make a profit for the taxpayer at the same time.

  54. Virgin Atlantic has struggled to be profitable, has an extremely weak balance sheet and the government knows this. The government also made note that the submission by Virgin (pay back plan) was far too optimistic given what is happening in the coronavirus times. The government isn’t really hot on bailing VS out if not for its general fear that it may collapse ANYWAY given these times but the political ramifications attached to giving them a loan and of course as someone who lives in the UK it’s very obvious. I’m not so much interested about where SRB pays his tax etc. But I don’t think they should be bailed out because they struggled to be profitable in good times, can’t imagine they would be anytime soon, they have a weak balance sheet and are highly leveraged.

    So Lucky, I’m not so sure VS will receive what it’s asking for from the govt. I think the British government is at a place where if they’re giving any ONE entity that kind of money they want strong reassurances.

    And with EasyJet they used a general government facility made available for investment grade companies so they didn’t really have to apply for it as they qualified because they’re investment grade so no necessary talks were held with the government. Virgin is not investment grade.

  55. I am puzzled as to why people fail to understand why we should support VA. Branson may be a billionaire on paper but the value is not cash in the bank, it is in numerous business’s employing a lot of people.
    He is not asking for a handout, just a loan which we will get interest on, just like Easyjet and most foreign airlines. Seems like a good deal to me, keep competition and keep staff employed and make money as well!
    Better than wasting billions on overseas aid to ease the conscience of politicians.
    We bailed out the banks and now look at them, told to help small business survive with 80% guarantee from Government and they still suit themselves!
    Perhaps if Branson offered a politician a directorship on retirement he would get the loan!!

  56. Earlier in the year FlyBe, the only UK regional airline went to the wall because one of its major share holders, Branson refused any sort of assistance.

    FlyBe was a lifeline to many and offered an unmatched and mostly uncompeted network.

    Virgin Atlantic offer nothing that others don’t. They have cherry picked routes all the years and now have no money. Tough, we don’t need them we needed FlyBe more.

    Let Virgin Atlantic die.

  57. Virgin Atlantic had beautiful flight attendants and always ready for some after hours fun.

    It’s funny reading the comments as so many have no idea why it’s bad to give a company a loan when that company doesn’t make any money. THEY CANT PAY YOU BACK

  58. HI
    There is a pandemic with companies that simply put borrow money in like virgin airlines to fill their expansion i’m not live like the rest of us within our means I would say to virgin airline like Margaret Thatcher would no no no
    The taxpayers money should only be spent schools hospitals and other essential services
    PS if you ever flown with virgin airline what did they do for you I can answer that question because these days they are tight on the coffee and they don’t even give you real orange juice orange squash

  59. The Virgin Group walked away with $468 Million (18% of $2.6Bn) from Alaska’s acquisition of Virgin America, who arguably paid a decent premium. If Virgin Group really cared about their remaining airline (at least the one they still control) this would be a big chunk of the money being asked for, before turning to the UK taxpayer for a bailout.

  60. The reason the brits don’t want to give VA a penny is that Branson sued the NHS when he lost a bid for his care facility branch to provide facilities (for years many of the NHS providers have in fact been businesses).
    Yep actually sued the NHS, which means the payout is funded by UK taxpayers, and that cash that paid virgin didn’t go to NHS care.
    The public knows this, and will never forgive him.
    That’s why he cant get a loan-even under favorable terms to the public purse from the treasury.
    The party that gives him cash publicly loses the next election.
    secretly arranging a loan-Hmmmm.

  61. Eastern European airline wizz air has just been approved by UK government for 300 million. Why it’s not British!!!!. Virgin was going to make a profit this year. It’s a British brand. Wizz air even states it has enough reserves to get it through until October 2021… disgusting!!!!!

  62. A commercial loan to be paid back, and a British brand need I say a British company registered and paying tax and contributions in the UK. 350 million is paid in tax to HMRC through his 10000 staff as well as boosting the UK economy with revenues of 3billion. There would be Job losses not only with Virgin but Heathrow airport and it’s partners, Manchester airport, Rolls Royce and airbus , do people realise how much more this would affect the economy and the tax payer, oh and not to mention the rocketing of their future holidays.!!! Why are the British government giving 300 million to an Eastern European carrier!!!

  63. As pensioners visiting Family and who have paid for recently cancelled flights with Virgin Atlantic due to coronavirus, what happens if they go bust? I hope to reschedule flights once things improve – would Delta take responsibility, do I get a full refund or will I loose my money? Insurance Company will not cover due to the virus!

  64. As stated above, Branson screwed himself for not selling 31% to France-KLM, i i know it is not a good thing for France, but it would have put the pressure on them and he would have never been in this situation. As most wealthy people are, he was purely in it for the money and sometimes that is not necessarily the best thing….

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