AGENCIES, London: With the global travel industry nearly grinding to a halt due to the current coronavirus pandemic, among the hardest hit are tour operators and airlines. It seems now, that it won’t be long before these businesses wind up as cash reserves dry out.
UK-based Virgin Atlantic and Australia-based Virgin Australia that are owned by Richard Branson could be facing for collapse if a lifeline is not offered by the government or financial institutions to help tide over the current crisis.
Branson has warned that the beleaguered airline will need government financial support in order to survive the coronavirus crisis. Virgin claimed it has put $250 million towards helping its businesses and staff during the coronavirus crisis. Virgin group has more than 70,000 staff across 35 countries.
In a blog post to Virgin employees, Branson said: “The reality of this unprecedented crisis is that many airlines around the world need government support and many have already received it.”
Branson’s comments came after rival British airline easyJet secured a £600 million loan from the UK government earlier this month.
So, how much money does Branson’s airlines need? He has reportedly asked the British government for a loan of £500 million
amid criticism about Virgin Atlantic staff being forced to take a pay cuts. Last month, deputy leader of Britain’s Opposition Labour party, Angela Rayner, suggested on Twitter that Branson should make up his staff’s wages by selling his private island.
Branson says he is ready to pledge his 74-acre resort island located in the British Virgin Islands as collateral to raise the necessary funds to help save the airline company.