IAG has not approached governments for state aid to assist the company through the coronavirus crisis, chief executive Willie Walsh has disclosed.

Speaking during a 16 March briefing, Walsh said the company had not followed other individual carriers in seeking financial assistance from governments.

“Governments would expect airlines to look at self-help before [calling] on [the government] to provide state aid,” he says.

“Clearly where governments are providing general support – particularly for employees impacted by the current crisis – we would avail of those general facilities for the benefit of our employees.

“But we have not had any dialogue with governments in relation to state aid.”

He says IAG has only sought relief from the European Commission’s ‘use it or lose it’ slot regulation, adding that he is “pleased” with the “quick” response.

IAG operator British Airways’ UK long-haul rival Virgin Atlantic has appealed to the government for “clear, decisive and unwavering support” to the industry, claiming that it needs emergency credit amounting to £5-7.5 billion to “bolster confidence” and prevent credit-card processing companies from withholding customer payments.

Virgin Atlantic is also seeking extension of the moratorium on slot rules to cover the entire summer 2020 season.

“With this support, airlines including Virgin Atlantic can weather this storm and emerge in a position to assist the nation’s economic recovery and provide the passenger and cargo connectivity that business and people across the country rely on,” says the carrier.