Virgin Atlantic (VS, London Heathrow) has set an “informal deadline” of the end of this week to finalise a deal that secures up to GBP900 million pounds (USD1.1 billion) in private funding, having concluded that it is unlikely to secure an emergency government bailout, Sky News reported.

The airline is simultaneously in talks with hedge funds about borrowing around GBP250 million (USD307 million) plus more than GBP200 million (USD245 million) from shareholders including Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson), which owns 49% of the company, and founder Richard Branson's Virgin Group.

It is also talking to aircraft manufacturers, lessors, and credit card companies on the potential postponement or cancellation of payments worth hundreds of millions of pounds. One source told the Guardian newspaper that as many as 60 separate discussions were ongoing about possible funding lifelines.

The carrier wants to finalise a deal in early July but may stretch talks beyond that deadline if necessary, the reports said.

The British government has told Virgin Atlantic that it must explore all private financing options before any bailout using public funds can be considered. However, the two sides are reportedly still negotiating a possible injection of GBP100 million (USD123 million).

“We continue to explore all available options to secure additional external funding as part of a comprehensive, solvent recapitalisation of the airline. As per the chancellor’s letter of March 24, [the British] government is considered as a lender of last resort, and rightly so,” the carrier said in a statement.

It has already announced 3,150 job cuts and a smaller fleet, including retiring older aircraft such as its A340-600s and B747-400s, and ending flights at London Gatwick.