Ryanair boss says Richard Branson can “bail himself out” instead of ‘fleecing’ UK taxpayers

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has blasted billionnaire Sir Richard Branson for demanding a £500 million loan to keep his Virgin Atlantic airline going during the coronavirus lockdown, and putting airline staff on unpaid leave after hundreds of flights were grounded.

O’Leary told Sky News, Virgin Atlantic is “ridiculous” and Branson can “bail himself out” with his £3.8 billion wealth.

He added “this is Branson’s second go at trying to fleece the British taxpayer for state aid” having tried it with Flybe, which was owned by Delta, himself and a New York venture capitalist company.

“Now you have Virgin Atlantic, owned by Delta and a Caribbean based non-resident billionaire. Frankly, if he’s worried about Virgin he should write the cheque himself.”

“Sitting in the Virgin Islands as a tax exile, asking the British government to bail you out, when you have more than sufficient resources to bail out Virgin Atlantic yourself is not something I believe that should be considered.”

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Lizzie Day