Sir Richard Branson has warned that airline Virgin Atlantic needs government support to survive.
The boss of the Virgin Group said he was not asking for a handout, but a commercial loan, believed to be £500m.
In an open letter to staff, Sir Richard said: “Many airlines around the world need government support and many have already received it.
The plea comes as Virgin Australia, the country’s second largest airline, faces going into administration without aid.
Sir Richard wrote in his letter that without UK government support for Virgin Atlantic “there won’t be any competition left and hundreds of thousands more jobs will be lost”.