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Virgin Atlantic Holds off The Grim Reaper, Picks Up $1.5B

Airline Seeks Strong Safety Protocols To Survive Future Pandemic issues

Virgin Atlantic has announced the completion of the $1.5B private-only solvent recapitalisation of the airline and holiday business.

Its Restructuring Plan has now been sanctioned by the English High Court under Part 26A of the UK Companies Act 2006, and formally recognised in the US court. This final step in the legal process paves the way for the Company to continue its efforts to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis a sustainably profitable airline.

Achieving this significant milestone reportedly puts Virgin Atlantic in a position to rebuild its balance sheet, restore customer confidence and welcome passengers back to the skies, safely, as soon as they are ready to travel. However, the devastating impact of Covid-19 on global aviation continues unabated and the airline must take further steps to ensure survival. 

Virgin Atlanitc notes that the outlook for transatlantic flying, which is core to Virgin Atlantic’s business, remains uncertain with US-UK travel curtailed.

"Until travel returns in greater numbers, survival is predicated on reducing costs further and continuing to preserve cash. On the back of the continued success of Virgin Atlantic Cargo operations, the restart of skeleton passenger operations - with flights to New York JFK, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Barbados, Shanghai, Miami and Delhi so far and Tel Aviv restarting on Sunday - has been an important achievement.  While performance has been encouraging, it is imperative that every sector the airline operates is cash positive."

Transatlantic flying represents 70% of Virgin Atlantic’s network. Since 16 March it has not been possible for many British nationals to enter the US upon arrival from the UK, Ireland and the Schengen Area. Since June, travellers arriving in the U.K. from the US have been subject to 14 days quarantine. The US border closure and UK quarantine measures have been in place for far longer than originally anticipated. As the airline increases passenger operations, the opening of US borders and removal of quarantine is imperative to recovery.

These travel restrictions impact on Virgin Atlantic disproportionally given its long-haul operations focussed on the transatlantic. The airline is calling for both UK and US governments to introduce robust passenger testing regimes to lift travel restrictions whilst protecting public health.

FMI: www.virginatlantic.com

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