Richard Branson offers his island as collateral as Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia face collapse
Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia will need government support if they're to survive the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Billionaire founder Richard Branson said Monday that the airlines need money from the UK and Australian governments to keep going "in the face of the severe uncertainty surrounding travel today," including the lack of clarity over how long planes will have to remain grounded.
In an open letter to employees, Branson said the survival of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia was important to provide much needed competition to British Airways, an IAG (ICAGY) subsidiary, and Qantas (QABSY). "If Virgin Australia disappears, Qantas would effectively have a monopoly of the Australian skies," he noted.
Branson, who has already pumped $250 million into Virgin Group companies in response to the pandemic, said he would offer his Necker Island estate in the Caribbean as collateral "to raise as much money against the island as possible to save as many jobs as possible around the group."
Virgin Atlantic will seek a commercial loan from the UK government, which it will repay, Branson added, without giving details of how much money it needs.