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Virgin Atlantic Tells Staff Sir Richard Branson “Has No Intention of Selling” the Airline

Virgin Atlantic Tells Staff Sir Richard Branson “Has No Intention of Selling” the Airline

The Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic has told staffers that its founder and majority shareholder Sir Richard Branson “has no intention” of selling the airline that he created back in 1984. In an internal memo sent on Wednesday by CEO Shai Weiss, workers were told that the airline continues to “explore all available options to obtain additional funding”.

Weiss confirmed reports that Virgin was seeking support from third party investors “or, as a last result, HM Government.” The statement continued: “Further, our shareholders remain committed to supporting the airline and Richard has no intention of selling Virgin Atlantic.”

Virgin Atlantic Recruiting Brazilian Portuguese Speaking Cabin Crew (Based in London)
Photo Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Last week, media reports claimed Virgin had “effectively shelved” plans to secure a bailout from the British government. It’s believed that the airline is seeking a half-million-pound taxpayer-funded rescue deal in the form of a commercial loan that the airline would eventually pay back.

It’s also been reported that Sir Richard has also been in talks with several outside investors to sell his 51 per cent stake in the airline to inject much-needed liquidity to see Virgin through the COVID-19 crisis.

Sir Richard has come under pressure to spend his own fortune to stave off the collapse of the embattled 36-year-old airline. The entrepreneur, however, has countered that “many airlines around the world need government support and many have already received it.”

In a nod to possible redundancies, Weiss told workers:

“It is clear this crisis will leave a lasting mark on the global economy and our nation. We too know that the shape of Virgin Atlantic will need to be different in response to this crisis. While we have already achieved meaningful savings, we must continue to take decisive action to reduce our costs and preserve cash.”

And in response to an internal survey that found only 60 per cent of the airline’s employees felt confident about the future of Virgin Atlantic, Weiss said he wanted to “reassure you we are doing everything we can to protect and safeguard the future of Virgin Atlantic”.

The memo was sent less than 24-hours after rival British Airways announced plans to lay-off up to 12,000 workers because of the Corona-crisis. British Airways currently employs over 40,000 staff worldwide.

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