Sir Richard Branson pledges Caribbean island to secure government bailout for Virgin

Sir Richard Branson has pledged his luxury private Caribbean island resort – Necker Island – as collateral to help get a UK government bailout for Virgin Atlantic.

The Virgin Group boss said in an open letter to staff he was not asking for a handout, but a commercial loan to secure the future of his company.

In his letter to staff, 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 this morning, adding to the troubles for the British billionaire.