British Airways was the biggest faller in the FTSE 100, slipping by 8.65% to 124.6p, after the co-owner of Virgin Atlantic said the loss-making airline was “not worth much any more” and warned ministers against bailing it out if its finances deteriorated.
Rather than step in with a General Motors-style rescue, ministers “would be better to wait for its demise”. “We and others are standing by ready to take on their routes and runway slots at Heathrow if they get into serious trouble,” he said. “I thought the US government’s bailout of the car companies was a bad idea and it’s the same for BA.”
Sir Richard Branson has said he will mortgage his private Caribbean island to raise money to help his Virgin Group empire, as he pleaded with the UK government to step in and save his Virgin Atlantic airline from collapse.
Branson, 69, made the pledge as he tried to convince the government to give his airline a £500m loan to help it through the “devastating impact this pandemic continues to have”.