Branson's Virgin Atlantic considers stock market listing
Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic is exploring a possible listing on the London stock market to raise money to repair the airline's finances.
The move could see shares offered to private investors as well as big City firms, but mean he loses overall control of his flagship business.
Virgin Group owns 51% of the airline, and US-based Delta Air Lines the rest.
It is understood Virgin has hired City advisors to draw up flotation plans, but the airline called it speculation.
Like most airlines, Virgin Atlantic's finances have been battered by the coronavirus collapse in air travel. In April, the airline posted a £659m loss for 2020 after passenger numbers dropped 80%, and it has announced thousands of job cuts.
Selling a stake in the airline would raise much-needed funds as global aviation rebuilds.
However, the share prices of airlines such British Airways-owner IAG and Easyjet are still significantly lower than pre-Covid levels amid widespread scepticism among some investors about how long it will take the industry to recover.