Airlines

Coronavirus pandemic leaves Richard Branson fighting for his Virgin empire

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How Richard Branson is trying to save Virgin

Sir Richard Branson has built a global empire and a widely recognized brand through charisma, brains and sheer guts. 

But the future of that empire depends heavily on travel and leisure businesses, which the coronavirus pandemic is now threatening. 

Branson has been scrambling to save his airlines Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia, which are both struggling as planes remain largely grounded around the world. 

A fledgling cruise line was supposed to make its maiden voyage this spring, but has been delayed. Virgin's boutique hotel chain, which had already been beset by delays, is suing the owner of one of its properties and has had to shut down or reduce traffic at the few hotels open.

The company is looking for funding — Branson is selling shares in his Virgin Galactic space tourism venture to raise capital to assist other businesses. Virgin told CNBC the group is taking the long view and has enough capital to make it through the crisis. It is also still looking for new investment opportunities. 

But the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still very much unknown.