Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is reportedly ready to pump an additional £200 million into Virgin Atlantic as the carrier pursues a near £1 billion rescue package.
The Financial Times reports Branson’s Virgin Group will stump up the cash immediately, with another £400 million already having been committed by partner Delta Air Lines, which holds a 49% minority stake in Virgin Atlantic.
Another £250 million is being sought from private investors, with the rest of the cash coming from a variety of reliefs – including deferment of some regulatory fees.
Virgin is understood to have set an internal early July deadline for an agreement, according to Sky News.
Earlier this year, the UK government knocked back Virgin’s plea for state support, forcing the beleaguered carrier to look for private investment instead.
This is despite several UK-based carriers, including easyJet, tapping the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility for hundreds of millions of pounds.
Virgin does not expect 2019 flight demand to return until at least 2023, and has made wide-ranging cost-saving moves to survive the coronavirus crisis, including a proposed merger of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays to create a new singular Virgin Atlantic Holidays brand.
Staff have been asked to take unpaid leave, and Virgin has already announced more than 3,000 proposed job cuts.
It has also outlined plans to reduce and simplify its fleet in favour of more fuel-efficient aircraft, and to pull out of Gatwick airport.
Virgin Atlantic plans to resume operations this month, flying predominantly from Heathrow.