Gov’t shuns ‘outrageous’ Virgin Atlantic plea

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The government has apparently rejected a minimum revenue guarantee (MRG) request from struggling British airline Virgin Atlantic.

Chief of staff in the Prime Minister’s Office Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst said such a deal was not something the government could have accepted.

“We had been approached by Virgin Atlantic but it was so outrageous that we could not agree to it. I think they were making the same demands of other Caribbean countries,” he told Observer.

“They’ve had their own financial woes and therefore they are focusing more on reconstructing their own operations. At one point I think American Airlines has made such a request. The only airline that we know that we have provided support for in a big way is LIAT,” Hurst added. 

Minimum revenue guarantees are where a government assumes a portion of the traffic risk to guarantee a minimum level of revenue and profitability to a company.

Virgin Atlantic, a long-time visitor to Antigua, recently won backing from its creditors for a £1.2bn rescue plan that would secure its future for at least 18 months.

The airline said the agreement puts it in a position to “rebuild its balance sheet” and “welcome passengers back”.

It had warned it would run out of cash by September without the deal.

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