Among news that Virgin Australia – the Australian airline launched by Richard Branson in 2000 – has entered voluntary administration, the British billionaire has pledged his private Necker Island, located in the British Virgin Islands, as collateral to save Virgin Atlantic from a similar fate.
He announced this in an open letter to Virgin Group, in which he wrote, “as with other Virgin assets, our team will raise as much money against the island as possible to save as many jobs as possible around the Group,” Business Insider reports.
With the airline industry continuing to suffer in the wake of travel restrictions imposed by coronavirus limitations, several airlines around the world have been hit hard, with aviation experts warning many will face bankruptcy before the crisis is over.
View this post on Instagram
Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has already made a number of cost-cutting decisions, including grounding 75 per cent of its fleet at the end of March, set to increase to 85 per cent this month.
Amid reports that he is requesting a loan worth about £500 million from the British government, Branson maintained in his letter, "together with the team at Virgin Atlantic, we will do everything we can to keep the airline going – but we will need government support to achieve that in the face of the severe uncertainty surrounding travel today and not knowing how long the planes will be grounded for.”
Affirming that the airline would pay back any financial aid given in the form of a commercial loan, Branson wrote, “the reality of this unprecedented crisis is that many airlines around the world need government support and many have already received it.”