Sir Richard Branson begins £500m virus bailout talks for Virgin Atlantic

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has reportedly started talks with the UK government about a £500m coronavirus-related bailout.

Virgin Atlantic revealed that talks were ongoing, but added that it is also looking at raising cash from the private sector. The news follows the rumours that Branson is also looking to find a buyer for the company as an alternative.

In a statement to staff last week, Branson said: “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).

“Over those years it has created real competition for British Airways, which must remain fierce for the benefit of our wonderful customers and the public at large.”

Branson injected £215m into the Virgin Group last month, with most of that going to secure the future of the airline.

Virgin Group’s airline in Australia entered administration last week, adding to the troubles for the British billionaire.