Virgin Orbit founder, Richard Branson continued to push Air Travel as Coronavirus hit1st Apr 2020
From encouraging flights during coronavirus, asking for a huge government bailout as staff took unpaid leave and being reminded that he sued the NHS as he offers to manufacture ventilators through Virgin Orbit…. what a month it’s been for Richard Branson!
Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Orbit and other companies within the Virgin Group, earlier this month when the scale of the coronavirus pandemic was becoming clear, said that the aviation industry might fall harder than anybody previously thought. He made his comments as he received an award from the Royal Aeronautical Society in an event in Washington DC.
Branson mentioned how his company survived the financial crises and terrorist attacks of September 11 and how it will carry on through this too. Following the US government’s advice to older age groups to avoid travel, Branson of Virgin Orbit requested that people focus on hygiene maintenance but continue to travel.
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How Is The Virus Hitting The Business Of Virgin Orbit?
Branson has a diverse business portfolio, including airlines and holiday clubs, and all of his industries are being directly affected. His aviation company, Virgin Atlantic, removed the fees charged for changing flight bookings made before March 4, 2020. Other airline companies of America and Alaska made similar moves. In its latest move, the Italian government restricted all travel.
The partnership of Virgin with Flybe also ceased due to Flybe’s financial crisis amidst the virus-hit travel demands. Virgin Australia’s finances are also being negatively hit by the no-flight movement towards China and other South-Asian countries. They aim to fight this by cutting down jobs and supplies during the latter half of 2020. Companies other than Virgin Orbit, like Cargo and the ones dealing with holidays, health clubs, hotels, and cruise ships, are going through a very serious slowdown too as people are not traveling for vacations or even official work.
The controversial comments by Richard Branson have then been followed up by more controversy as he more recently suggested that the UK should be providing him with state aid while staff were put on unpaid leave.
Given the billionaire’s history of having publicly sued the NHS for damages following the loss of a health care contract, you can imagine this didn’t go down too well on twitter, with many commentators reminding him of his companies’ tax arrangements and legal history with the NHS.
In a quick turnaround it seems Richard Branson is now looking to produce ventilators in the USA through his Virgin Orbit division…