Sir Richard Branson has claimed that Virgin Atlantic will collapse unless it receives government support.
THE Virgin Group boss said the airline needs taxpayer support in the form of a commercial loan. It is believed that he is asking for £500 million.
Sir Richard posted a message on Twitter, declaring that Virgin has invested more than £75 million into the NHS, Virgin Atlantic employees ‘virtually unanimously’ decided to take a wage reduction to save jobs and ‘if the UK government does help Virgin Atlantic to survive, it will not be free money but repaid on commercial terms.’
He also adds that he lives on Necker, in the British Virgin Islands, because ‘I love BVIs [British Virgin Islands] … our companies all pay tax in the countries they operate in.’
In an open letter to Virgin Group employees, Sir Richard wrote: ‘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 £600 million 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.’