Virgin atlantic quest for a state bailout has been backed by some of the biggest aviation companies, aerospace giants Airbus and Rolls-Royce as well as Heathrow all lobbying the government on behalf of the airline.
The trio sent letters to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps this week asking for state help from Sir Richard Branson’s airline, which is seeking hundreds of millions of pounds in loans and credit guarantees with planes immobilized and reservations disappear because of the coronavirus.
Virgin has ordered a fleet of Airbus 330s, with Rolls Royce engines, the wings of which are manufactured at the Airbus factory in Broughton, North Wales. The airline had also planned ahead of the coronavirus to develop at London Heathrow.
In one of the letters, according to Sky News, John Harrison, the British attorney general and president of Airbus, said that “the collapse of Virgin could have an extremely negative impact on the A330 program”.
He added: “As you know, all the wings on these planes are designed and manufactured in the UK, and orders from airlines like Virgin are vital to the continuation of our business.”
Rolls-Royce also highlighted the “significant importance” of Virgin custom to the company and its UK supply chain.
A Heathrow spokesperson confirmed that the airport had written on behalf of Virgin and said: “The government must take urgent action now to protect the future of the industry, otherwise it risks jeopardizing the resumption of the industry. UK economy once we have beaten the virus. “