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Virgin Atlantic seeks aid from Great Britain

Industry uncertainties require public intervention

Virgin Australia under controlled administration

In a dramatic letter to employees Richard Branson, founder and owner of a stake in Virgin Atlantic, said that "Without financial aid from the British government, the carrier Virgin Atlantic will collapse". A position statement -AVIONEWS writes- which follows that of many other managers of airlines and aerospace companies and which proposes the painful exercise of saving only someone by abandoning others.

Air carriers from all over the world are financially "on the ropes" due to the blockade on traffic imposed by the governments that forced them to land most of their aircraft which adds to the total uncertainty about the demand for air transport that some experts estimate will not restart before the second half of 2021.

The funding -Branson specified it- "would be in the form of a commercial loan, it would not be free money and the airline would repay it", and he added that "We will make whatever it takes to move forward but we need government support to achieve this target in the face of the serious uncertainty surrounding tourism today and not knowing how long the planes will remain on the ground". 

Branson's statement thus becomes a criticism, not so veiled, of the British government's decision to grant a £ 600 million loan to the British airline easyJet tackling the issue of support to airlines on a case by case basis, without having a single bailout fund.

On the labor front, the group controlled by Branson made the decision, bitterly criticized by the unions, to ask staff to take unpaid leave.

"The reality of this unprecedented crisis is that many airlines around the world need government support and many ones have already received it", Branson added it, fearing the idea of uneven aid. "Without it there will be no more competition and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, along with a crisis in connections and the economy".

Virgin aims to get £ 500 million in State aid.

According to Australian sources, Virgin Australia -also it controlled by the Branson Virgin Group- has gone to voluntary administration, the harbinger of bankruptcy, making the Australian carrier the main victim of the pandemic.

The staff -AVIONEWS reports it- was informed of the decision at the last moment and there was no form of negotiation. It is -AVIONEWS added it- of about 10,000 pilots, flight attendants and ground crewmembers. The appointment of directors is currently pending, who should try to find a buyer and manage creditors.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency