Virgin Atlantic has been forced to ask the UK Government for a multi-million pound bailout.
The exact details are not yet known, but the Business Minister didn’t react well to it, feeling that the airline had reacted to quickly in laying off staff.
The problem with Virgin Atlantic is that its image is vastly larger than its physical size and income.
The airline is entirely long haul, recently spent over £80 million trying to keep Flybe alive long enough to restructure it, but Covid-19 tilted that into failure.
The current fleet consists of 42 aircraft, of which 12 have already been parked.
All 4 A332’s have been laid up, 4 of 10 A333 are parked, 2 of 7 744’s have been parked, along with 2 of the 17 789’s. All four of the A35K’s are still flying.
Most of the remainder were expected to be reported as parked by mid-next week, especially as South Africa, India and China to which it flies have all shut down air travel. The vast bulk of its routes are to the US and those routes are nearly at zero demand.
British Airways is bound to have something to say, as the two airlines have a long history of loathing, but it seems unlikely in the end that the Government will let Virgin Atlantic collapse, its a vital competitor to BA at Heathrow, if it went it would leave BA with virtually unchallenged dominance over trans-Atlantic routes.
Delta, which owns 49% of the airline has said nothing so far, despite being part of the US industry about to share in a massive bailout.
Gatwick Airport, Virgin Atlantic’s main operating service base announced business there had slowed so much it was closing the entire North Terminal that Virgin Atlantic (mostly the holidays arm) and others operate from and concentrating all operations in the South Terminal.