Three major players in the aviation sector have reportedly written to the government urging ministers to support Virgin Atlantic through the coronavirus crisis.
Sky reports Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Heathrow airport have all this week written to transport secretary Grant Shapps warning that if Virgin was to collapse, the shockwaves would be felt far and wide across aviation sector.
In his letter, Airbus general counsel and UK chair John Harrison said if the airline was left to fail, it would have an “extremely negative impact” on its A330 programme, Sky reports.
Virgin Atlantic declined to comment when approached by TTG on Wednesday (1 April).
Airbus told TTG the it was “strongly advocating government support for all airlines”.
Virgin has been vocal in its calls for state support as the coronavirus crisis has unfolded, and is understood to have already applied for hundreds of millions in state aid.
However, chancellor Rishi Sunak has so far ruled out broader support for the UK’s aviation sector, stressing the government would only consider stepping in as a last resort on a case-by-case basis once carriers have “exhausted” all other options.
The majority of Virgin staff have either taken unpaid leave or been furloughed under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, with many turning their hands to other roles in support of the national coronavirus effort – such as assisting the NHS and retailers.
Virgin founder Richard Branson has pledged $250 million (£200 million) to protect jobs across his Virgin empire, noting in a blog post how Virgin Atlantic has had to ground most of its fleet and Virgin Voyages postpone its official launch.
Harrison added in his letter, seen by Sky, that Virgin Atlantic made a vital contribution to the UK’s diverse aviation market.