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British government plans to buy into airlines

The UK government is said to be planning to save the airline industry affected by the coronavirus pandemic by investing billions of pounds, the FT reported on Saturday.

The government plans to buy equity stakes in airline companies in return for shares that would ultimately be sold back to private investors.

The move comes after the government was warned that its economic backing, including a 330 billion-pound lifeline of loan guarantees, will not be enough to save companies from collapse.

The minister for transport, Grant Shapps, spoke to major airports and airlines on Wednesday about how the government could support the industry. Discussions about a support package for airlines and airports are ongoing.

On Sunday, Sky News reported that Britain’s airline industry needs emergency government support worth up to £7.5bn to avert a catastrophe that would wipe out tens of thousands of jobs.

On Friday, the United Kingdom recorded 3,983 coronavirus infections and 177 deaths.