Virgin Atlantic to cut 3,150 jobs, move flights to Heathrow from Gatwick
05 May 2020
British carrier Virgin Atlantic today announced plans to reshape and resize its business to ensure that it remains fit for the future, as the global economy and the travel and aviation industry smarts under the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The airline said it would cut 3,150 jobs and would move its flying programme from London Gatwick to Heathrow airport to optimise its network and fleet to become greener and more efficient as it counts the cost of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The spread of the novel coroanvirus has virtually brought airports around the globe to a standstill, leaving airlines taking drastic steps to make savings.
“We’re making some changes to optimise our network and simplify our fleet, as we aim to establish ourselves as the sustainability industry leader. As part of these changes, we’ll be moving our flying programme from London Gatwick, flying modern twin-engine aircraft from London Heathrow and Manchester – with the intention of retaining slots at London Gatwick, to allow us to return in the future.”
For customers booked to fly from Gatwick, the airline said, over the next couple of weeks it would be working to rebook their travel to ensure that their travel plans remain in place, including on flights from London Heathrow where possible. “We’ll contact you directly to discuss changes to your booking and alternative options – you don’t need to call us. Our teams are receiving a high volume of calls at the moment, so please do bear with us – we'll be in touch as soon as we can,” the airline said.
Beginning 5 May 2020, Virgin Atlantic said it would also retire seven 747-400s, and four A330-200 aircraft by early 2022.
Virgin said last week it could cut as many as 12,000 jobs, over a quarter of its total, and Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss said the pandemic was the most devastating event in the airline’s history.
“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,” Weiss said in a statement.
“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.”
Virgin Atlantic said it continued to explore all available options to get extra funding through talks with the government and other stakeholders about possible support for the airline.