MIAMI– Virgin Atlantic (VS) today announced that it will offer COVID-19 insurance to its passengers free of charge. The airline is also expecting a High Court decision about its bailout tomorrow, following its Chapter 15 bankruptcy filing.

Together with Allianz, VS will add this free service to existing and new bookings. Travel shall be between August 24 2020 and March 31, 2021. The insurance covers all health and quarantine costs.

With this, VS became the second major airline after Emirates to offer such a service.

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330-223 G-VMIK departing Manchester. (Thomas Saunders)

The Insurance

Virgin Atlantic’s site details the insurance details. The most important characteristics are:

  • Up to £500,000 necessary and emergency medical expenses affecting the passenger and their travel companions.
  • Repatriation due to Coronavirus, should it be medically necessary.
  • The airline will cover all necessary costs should the passenger and/or their companions be denied boarding. The same applies if they need to quarantine at their destination.
  • Cover for the whole trip, with no upper limit on the length of time spent.
  • Cover for all passengers with no restrictions on age travel class or length of the journey.
Photo: Chris Lofting

The Bailout

Virgin Atlantic had been struggling financially for a while and the virus made it even worse. The airline’s appeal to obtain a bailout from the UK government was rejected, putting the airline in a dangerous situation. Thus, VS filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in order to restructure and find solutions.

The carrier has worked out a rescue package, estimated at £1.2bn. It includes a cash injection from Virgin Group, Davidson Kempner, First Data among others. However, creditors will also lose money: only about 80% of owed money will be returned.

Therefore, creditors will vote to approve or decline the deal tomorrow in the High Court. Creditors can be aircraft lessors, ground handlers, and other contractors, totaling more than 170. Should the deal get rejected, VS can go into administration by mid-September.

Featured image: Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330-343 G-VSXY. Photo: ©Hiro Nishikura.