A renewed plea for government aid for the aviation sector to avoid more job losses came after creditors backed a £1.2 billion rescue bid for Virgin Atlantic.

The airline said shareholders, banks, aircraft owners and suppliers owed money had approved the private recapitalisation plan.

Virgin Atlantic now needs the scheme sanctioned by the High Court in London on September 2 followed by a US Chapter 15 ‘procedural hearing’ the following day.

The carrier is cutting 3,500 jobs but has said remaining staff should be secure once the deal is approved.

Delta Air Lines, which owns 49% of the UK carrier, said it is “optimistic that this plan will allow Virgin Atlantic to secure its future”, and said it remains “firmly supportive” of the company.

Brian Strutton general secretary of pilots union Balpa welcomed the creditor backing for Virgin Atlantic’s recovery plan.

It should mean the airline will get court approval on September 2, thereby protecting 6,500 UK jobs “for the time being”.

But he added: “It’s a shame the UK government wouldn’t help Virgin and frankly, unless the government starts supporting the aviation industry soon, there will be more job losses and in airlines and regional airports.”

Separately, Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “Virgin Atlantic has been one of the worst operators for processing refunds for cancelled flights over this period, with Which? hearing from countless passengers who have painstakingly been trying to claw their money back from the airline.

“With this rescue deal, it now has absolutely no excuse for continuing to leave its passengers out of pocket for months on end, and must immediately return any outstanding refunds to customers if it is to have any chance of regaining their trust.”