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Coronavirus: Virgin Atlantic announces job cuts

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British airline Virgin Atlantic will cut over 3,000 jobs and stop operating at Gatwick Airport, it announced on Tuesday.

The company has “plans to reshape and resize its business to ensure that is it fit for the future, in response to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy, our nation and the travel and aviation industry,” it said in a press release.

“In order for the airline to emerge from the crisis, regrettably it must reduce the number of people employed and today the company is announcing a planned reduction of 3,150 jobs across all functions,” the airline said.

“Working closely with unions BALPA and Unite, a company-wide consultation period of 45 days begins today,” they added.

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“This is another terrible blow for the industry and is evidence of the dire situation facing UK aviation,” said BALPA in a press release. “It won’t just be airline staff who are hit by this lack of support… it will reverberate right through to the whole U.K.,” BALPA added.

Additionally, Virgin Atlantic “will be moving its flying programme from London Gatwick to London Heathrow,” the airline announced, “with the intention of retaining its slot portfolio at London Gatwick, so it can return in line with customer demand.”

The airline will also reduce its fleet. “By 2022 the simplified, greener fleet will comprise of 36 twin engine aircraft,” it announced.

“We have weathered many storms since our first flight 36 years ago, but none has been as devastating as Covid-19 and the associated loss of life and livelihood for so many,” said Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss.

The news comes after UK media reported in late April that Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson was looking for a new buyer for the airline.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times