Virgin Group
Virgin Group

New Delhi: In what may seem like history repeating, Richard Branson;s Virgin Atlantic is heading the Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher way. Virgin Atlantic has appealed for £7.5 billion in government support to prop up the aviation industry during the coronavirus crisis, according to The London Economics.

Peter Norris, the chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways’ majority shareholder, Virgin Group, will write to the prime minister on Monday to warn that the sector needs immediate financial aid to survive, the report said.

The bailout request will come ahead of what could prove to be the bloodiest week in British aviation history, with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and Ryanair all expected to announce mass groundings of aircraft and potentially huge redundancies as the COVID-19 crisis escalates, media reports suuggest.

Sources said that Norris’s letter would ask the government to provide airlines with a credit facility to help them finance themselves through a potentially protracted period of negligible revenue.

The Virgin chairman estimates the support would be worth between £5 billion and £7.5 billion across the industry, and would include cash advances and guarantees, as well as other measures to ensure that credit card companies do not continue to hoard revenue from airline bookings.

One source close to the airline, which was founded by Sir Richard Branson in 1984, said that Mr Norris would also ask the PM to extend the timetable for allowing airlines to keep planes grounded without losing their prized take-off and landing slots for the entire summer season.

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