Virgin Galactic to run as a critical infrastructure business during pandemic

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“We are an aerospace manufacturer with defense and government contracts and therefore categorized as a Critical Infrastructure business,” a company spokeswoman told Reuters in an emailed statement.

The company, which aims to offer the first commercial space flight later this year with Branson on board, added that a vast majority of its workforce is working from home.

Virgin Galactic’s net losses widened to $73 million in the fourth quarter from $46 million in the year-ago period, it reported in its first financial results as a publicly traded company in February.

Blue Origin, founded by Amazon.com Inc (O:AMZN) Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, is also racing to be the first to offer suborbital flights to fare-paying thrill seekers.

Virgin Galactic went public after merging in October with Social Capital Hedosophia , the special-purpose acquisition vehicle run by early Facebook Inc (O:FB) executive and venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya.

Separately, Branson is seeking 500 million pounds ($619.36 million) from the British government to bail out his Virgin Atlantic airline during the virus outbreak.