Branson: No plans to sell Virgin Atlantic

Richard Branson recognizes the need for further investment but won't sell.
Credit: Virgin Group

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has rejected media reports that he plans to sell UK long-haul carrier Virgin Atlantic, but the search for further investment continues.

“Richard and the Virgin Group are committed to the airline and are not looking to sell Virgin Atlantic,” a Virgin Group spokesperson said on April 27. “They recognize that further investment will be necessary to make up for the total loss of revenue due to COVID-19.”

Virgin Atlantic has brought in global investment bank Houlihan Lokey to help source further funding, focusing on private-sector investors, as the airline is being hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

“Discussions with a number of stakeholders continue and are constructive, meanwhile the airline remains in a stable position,” the Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said.

In the meantime, Virgin Atlantic is rolling out measures to reduce costs and preserve cash.

Aviation Week Network understands that Virgin Atlantic will receive a large tranche of the $250 million that Virgin Group and Richard Branson have pledged to help Virgin companies through the COVID-19 crisis.

Virgin Atlantic also remains in talks with the UK government over possible support measures.

In an open letter to staff dated April 20, Branson said Virgin Atlantic will need government support to survive. The airline has been seeking a government-backed loan on commercial terms, but this is yet to be granted.

Victoria Moores

Victoria Moores joined Air Transport World as our London-based European Editor/Bureau Chief on 18 June 2012. Victoria has nearly 20 years’ aviation industry experience, spanning airline ground operations, analytical, journalism and communications roles.