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Virgin Atlantic appoints advisors to manage a bankruptcy process

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Sky News reported this afternoon that Virgin Atlantic has appointed restructuring specialists Alvarez & Marsal to oversee a potential pre-pack insolvency of the airline.

This does not necessarily mean that administration is inevitable, and as Sky points out it is a legal requirement of the directors to prepare for such an eventually if it looks like it may be necessary.

Because of the way that pre-pack administrations work, this would NOT mean the end of the airline.

Virgin Atlantic appoints advisors to manage a bankruptcy process

Under a pre-pack, the airline would declare itself bankrupt and would be immediately sold to a pre-arranged buyer.  This buyer is highly likely to be Sir Richard Branson, potentially with new partners.

The new shareholders would acquire the assets of the existing business but not its liabilities.  The airline would therefore emerge debt free.  The process would also allow it to shed leases on aircraft which were no longer required.

One issue, however, would be the potential loss of its Heathrow Airport landing and take-off slots.  Many people have forgotten that many of Virgin’s slots are secured against a £220 million loan and would be forfeit if that loan was not repaid.

It is possible that any announcement this weekend to force visitors to the UK into 14 days quarantine, including returning UK citizens, could be a trigger for administration.

Changes to UK insolvency proceedings as part of the response to coronavirus allow the airline to continue trading whilst going through a restructuring without the directors being personal liable for the debt.  This increases the chances that the airline would be able to emerge intact in some form.

Virgin Flying Club should emerge unscathed, especially as your miles are legally owned by Virgin Red / Virgin Group Loyalty Company.  Virgin Atlantic is not a shareholder in this business, which is owned jointly by Virgin Group and Delta Air Lines.  However, in reality your miles will have little value if the cannot be redeemed for flights as it is unlikely that Virgin Red has enough funding to pay for redemptions with third parties.

The full Sky News article is here.  Mark Kleinman, the author, has had a decent track record recently of accurate scoops covering the problems at Flybe and Virgin Atlantic.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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):

Virgin Money is offering double points on spending until 14th April (£5,000 cap) to new customers when you apply for the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard. Click here to learn more.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn 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.)

Comments (135)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • r* says:

    What would happen to existing future bookings? They could decide to not honor any? But probably unlikely?

    • Ilou says:

      I have close to 1m points and really not sure what to do ?

      @Rob, what are you doing ?

  • John Stewart says:

    What happens to Virgin Holidays and people who have been waiting for refunds for several months?

    • Rob says:

      Section 75 protects your refund. ATOL protects your holiday.

  • Delphina says:

    Would be reassuring to received some clarity from Flying Club!
    I’m sitting on nearly 800k which I have been saving hard for a long time – and still spending on Virgin Atlantic Reward Plus Credit card. Really wondering if I should switch and start saving for Avios instead??

  • Crumbs says:

    My Virgin card anniversary is coming up. Actually would intend to keep the card, but what are my chances of getting a refund on the card fee if VS goes belly up? As the bank won’t be able to provide the benefits of the card, think I should get at least a pro rata refund?

    • Ian says:

      Crumbs. I asked a Virgin Money agent the same thing and he said I wouldn’t get a refund. As I have the free Rewards card as well I cancelled the Plus card and saved the £160.

      • Jack says:

        Why do people think Virgin Money is going bust, unbelievable

        • AJA says:

          Jack, it’s no so much Virgin Money going bankrupt, it’s the VFC points you earn on the credit card. If the airline goes and then fails to recognise the points from VFC (assuming they don’t disappear) what’s the point of having the card?.

  • Murray says:

    I’m genuinely at a loss of what to do – we have a decent amount of flying club miles and wouldn’t get much use out of them transferring to a partner like Hilton. Would Virgin likely still honour our miles after being bought out?

    • Qwertyknowsbest says:

      Too many lazy questions on H4P these days. We all appreciate help and others experience, but so many now asking without even bothering to read recent threads.

    • insider says:

      the lesson for most here is to try not to hoard your miles when you have an option not to. The only way to get the value from your points is to use them! There’s no honour in being the richest points holder when the music stops.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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