Virgin Atlantic (VS, London Heathrow) has secured two unspecified wet-leased aircraft as a part of a contingency plan for the planned strike of a part of the carrier's pilots over Christmas, Travel Weekly has reported.

"We’ve secured additional aircraft that, if required, will provide extra capacity to make sure all of our customers can reach their final destinations. These aircraft will only be used if we need to boost our flying programme. Further details of these two aircraft will be available this week, once final details are confirmed,” the carrier said.

The carrier is facing a potential walkout of pilots of the Professional Pilots' Union, a labour union not recognised by the airline. Virgin Atlantic is also pursuing a court injunction to prevent the strike. The PPU says it represents around a third of the carrier's pilots, while Virgin Atlantic itself said only around a sixth took part in the recent referendum organised by the PPU.

Separately, Virgin Atlantic has issued a statement confirming that it continues to "review [its] options in respect of flybe. (BE, Exeter)" and could place an offer for the struggling regional carrier, although no decisions have been taken yet.