Rolls-Royce and Airbus are pressuring the UK Government to back a bailout of Virgin Atlantic, according to a report in the Financial Times this afternoon.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has been told by both companies that Virgin Atlantic plays a key role both in their operations and in supporting their supply chain throughout the UK.
Virgin Atlantic recently ordered 14 A330-900neo aircraft, pictured below, with a list price of $4.1 billion.
The wings for these aircraft are designed and manufactured by Airbus in the UK. Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines will power the planes, and the value of the engines is likely to be around 1/3rd of the total order cost.
Heathrow Airport is also reported to have submitted a letter supporting the arline.
The newspaper reports that the airline has now officially requested a package of commercial loans and guarantees worth £500 million. The loans are to support day-to-day costs whilst the airline remains grounded. The guarantees are required to persuade Visa, Mastercard and American Express to release the money they are retaining to cover potential Section 75 claims if the airline folds.
Talks between the airline and the Government will start this week. The FT quotes a Government source as saying that both Virgin Atlantic and easyJet may be refused support, due to Sir Richard Branson’s historic sheltering of Virgin Group profits from UK tax due to his Necker Island domicile and easyJet’s recent payment of a £170m dividend. Loganair and Eastern are expected to receive Government funding unchallenged.
Whilst not highlighted by the FT, I should add that there are also questions being asked over the appointment of advisory firm EY who will effectively tell the Government what they should do. EY has audited British Airways and latterly IAG for over 30 years.
The FT article is behind a paywall but you can read it by clicking through to Google here and selecting the top result.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):
You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.
(Want to earn more Virgin Points? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)