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Virgin Atlantic gets £400 million lifeline from Virgin Group and Delta Air Lines

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Virgin Atlantic has announced a £400 million investment from Virgin Group and Delta Air Lines, in a move which should hopefully allow the UK airline to survive the Omicron storm.

£204 million is being provided by Virgin Group with £196 million coming from Delta. All new aircraft deliveries are now fully funded up to mid 2024.

On the back of the new investment, Virgin Atlantic is forecasting a return to profitability in 2023. This is not totally unrealistic given that the airline has made huge reductions in its fleet and staff costs since the start of the pandemic, but clearly won’t be easy.

Delta Airlines investment in Virgin Atlantic

In total, Delta has just announced commitments of $1.2 billion across three airlines where it has a shareholding – Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico and LATAM.

Delta was restricted from putting new money into Virgin Atlantic last year under the terms of the bailout it received from the US Government. Instead, it supported the first Virgin Atlantic recapitalisation by writing off historic and future payments due from the airline.

The shareholdings in Virgin Atlantic will remain unchanged. Virgin Group retains 51% and Delta Air Line remains at 49%.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic crew

Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, said:

“Our story has been well documented during the pandemic. Together with our people, we have proven that we have what it takes to emerge a stronger airline. Throughout, our shareholders Virgin Group and Delta Air Lines, and our creditors, have been a source of unwavering support. As our customers look to travel again to reconnect with their families, loved ones and business colleagues around the world, we look forward to working together towards our vision of becoming the most loved travel company and becoming sustainably profitable, serving our customers with Virgin flair for the next 37 years and beyond.”

Josh Bayliss, CEO of the Virgin Group, said:

Since 1984, Virgin Atlantic has been a cornerstone of the Virgin brand, flying millions of customers and providing essential competition. We are extremely grateful to the Virgin Atlantic team for its incredible tenacity and commitment skilfully navigating the worst crisis ever to hit the travel industry. With the addition of new routes and a continuing focus on operating a cleaner, greener fleet, there is much to look forward to.”

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

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):

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.

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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

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.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) 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

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus 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 (29)

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

  • Harry T says:

    But what is Rob going to do with his Virgin miles? 😁

  • Grimz says:

    Good news for my Virgin miles but availability is poor!!

  • Alex B says:

    Is this not throwing good money after bad? I really like VS so glad it’s happening, but it’s hardly ever made money? Is it because the airline is key to the brand, so it’s covered by other licence fees?

    • Rob says:

      It’s Branson’s baby, it has a halo effect on the other Virgin brands and (from Delta’s perspective) it is a low cost way of ensuring a strong position on the transatlantic market.

    • Dubious says:

      Does it actually loose money, or is it an accounting game where they don’t want to report profits to avoid tax, so they find a way to add some costs to turn it in to the red? (pun not intended)

      • Rob says:

        Clearly an element of that, given that there were always large payments going out to the shareholders for ‘use of brand’ etc. No different to how some multinationals register their trademarks in tax free subsidiaries so that, for eg, when you buy a coffee in Starbucks, a large payment is made by Starbucks UK to Starbucks Dublin etc for the use of the brand. UK company ends up losing money, the Irish company with no corporation tax to pay makes a lot of money.

        We could do the same – register HfP in a cosy tax-free jurisdiction offshore and then the company pays me a modest salary to work for it in the UK, with the profits building up tax free abroad. I could then not touch the money until I retire and so not incur any tax unless I bring the cash into Britain. But we don’t.

  • Paul says:

    great news, long live VS!

  • Philondon says:

    Phew! We’re flying to LAX tomorrow morning. Hi to anyone else on that flight!

  • Gary says:

    Thankfully the vouchers not turning into wallpaper (for now).

  • yorkieflyer says:

    Converted half of our stash to Hilton in 2020 and don’t regret it, risk management and still wondering when there’ll ever be an opportunity to redeem for UC on a route and date I want

  • Indy500 says:

    After returning to VA after 20 years to fly to St Vincent in March I was shocked to find how terrible their IT is. It took me an age to pay for an upgrade. Could have done it in 5mins on BA. Bizarrely not available via the website [if we ignore their weird bidding feature], I finally made a nuisance of myself on Twitter and they rang me! …and I gave them money! Who knew it could be so difficult to actually give them funds!

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

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