Virgin Atlantic Cuts Jobs and Ends Gatwick Operations
Following the news and updates around the COVID-19 pandemic, many airlines were forced to suspend or reduce their daily operations. We have the latest information from airlines and hotels all around the world. Unfortunately, many airlines are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. First, we saw Virgin Australia being forced to file for voluntary administration, and now Virgin Atlantic is firing a third of its employees.
Virgin Atlantic Financial Troubles
In an open letter to employees of Virgin Atlantic billionaire Richard Branson said that the carrier needed government support to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month the carrier requested emergency financial help in addition to the coronavirus package made available to all British companies. Virgin Atlantic has been told to re-submit a bid for a £500 million state coronavirus bailout package after the government dismissed the initial bid. Branson also pointed out that the rival British carrier EasyJet received a £600 million government bailout earlier in April.
Virgin Atlantic Job Cuts and Gatwick Operations
Virgin Atlantic has announced that they will cut more than 3,000 jobs. This number represents a third of the workforce. The carrier also announced in a press release they will end operation at Gatwick Airport. Richard Branson said that they will focus on operating from the London Heathrow base and Manchester. All routes from Gatwick, which were serving among others Orlando, Florida, and Barbados, will now move to Heathrow.
From the official press release:
“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. However, to safeguard our future and emerge a sustainably profitable business, now is the time for further action to reduce our costs, preserve cash, and to protect as many jobs as possible. It is crucial that we return to profitability in 2021. This will mean taking steps to reshape and resize Virgin Atlantic in line with demand, while always keeping our people and customers at the heart of all we do.” Shai Weiss, CEO
British Airways, another UK based carrier is looking to lay off more than 12,000 employees. And similarly to Virgin Atlantic, they will also end all Gatwick operations. The carrier put 22,626 employees in furlough in April and they also slashed passenger capacity by 90%. The carrier announced a huge financial loss of €535 million compared to a profit of €135 million last year. The airline's chief executive, Alex Cruz wrote an open letter to all the employees announcing that the carrier is preparing for a ‘different future'. Similarly to British Airways, Aer Lingus fired 900 employees and Ryanair announced that they will cut as many as 3,000 jobs.