Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will cut more than 3,000 jobs in the UK and close its operations at Gatwick Airport.
The shock announcement comes after rival British Airways said it could not rule out the closure of its Gatwick operation. The Balpa pilots’ union called him “devastating.”
Many airlines are struggling because the coronavirus pandemic has virtually stopped global travel.
The airline currently employs a total of approximately 10,000 people.
Virgin Atlantic, which is applying for emergency loans from the government, said jobs would be lost in all areas.
“We have weathered many storms since our first flight 36 years ago, but none has been as devastating as Covid-19 and the loss of life and livelihoods that this has caused for many,” said the Virgin Atlantic general manager Shai Weiss.
The Balpa union said: “This is another terrible blow to the industry and proof of the dire situation facing the British air force.
Balpa secretary general Brian Strutton said, “Our members and all staff at Virgin Atlantic will be shocked by the scale of this bomb. We will challenge Virgin very strongly to justify it. “
Virgin Atlantic also announced that it will move its flight schedule from Gatwick to Heathrow. He said he intends to keep his slots in Gatwick “so that he can come back based on customer demand.”
However, Mr. Weiss said there is no certainty that the airline industry will recover from the coronavirus crisis.
“After September 11 and the global financial crisis, we took similar painful steps, but luckily many of our team members flew with us in a few years.
“Depending on how long the pandemic is and how long our planes are immobilized, we hope the same thing will happen this time. “
Gatwick said the company was “very sad” to hear about the plans for Virgin Atlantic.
The airline has been taking off from the airport since 1984, and Gatwick said, “Virgin Atlantic will always be welcome to Gatwick and we will continue our efforts to explore ways to restart the airline’s operations as soon as possible, knowing that they intend to keep their portfolio of slot machines in Gatwick for the return of demand. “
It was 28% at British Airways. Now 30% of jobs will be cut at Virgin Atlantic.
The British aviation sector is shrinking. No airline or airport is immune.
Virgin Atlantic was Gatwick’s ninth airline, so it’s a big blow, but not a punch.
However, British Airways, which is Gatwick’s second customer, has indicated that it may also not resume operations in Gatwick.
If BA withdrew, it would have deeper ramifications.
Just a few weeks ago, several UK airports had planned elaborate, costly and highly controversial expansion plans. The large ones were operating at or near full capacity.
But the entire aviation industry is experiencing a new reality.
When the lockout restrictions are relaxed and the flight times increase again, there will be fewer passengers, fewer flights and probably more expensive and, unfortunately, thousands of cabin crew, pilots and staff on the ground will have lost their jobs.
And the consensus is that it will take the aviation industry years to rebound from where it was before the pandemic.
Commenting on his own future, Gatwick said, “We remain very optimistic about the long-term prospects for Gatwick Airport and our resilience as a business. respond to the request. “
Other airlines have already announced plans to cut jobs due to the collapse in travel demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
British Airways announced last week that it will cut up to 12,000 jobs out of its 42,000 employees. He also told staff that his operations at Gatwick Airport may not reopen after the pandemic has passed.
Ryanair also said it would cut 3,000 jobs – 15% of its workforce – boss Michael O’Leary said the move was “the minimum we need to survive in the next 12 months.”
Virgin Atlantic said it has started a 45-day consultation period on job losses with the Balpa and Unite unions.
Virgin Atlantic also plans to reduce the size of its aircraft fleet from 45 to 35 by the summer of 2022.
It hopes to restore approximately 60% of its pre-pandemic flight capacity by the end of 2020.
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