Virgin Atlantic has today announced that it is set to cut more than 3,000 jobs across the UK and also end its operation at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex.
Many airlines have been struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and the wider Virgin group – headed by British billionaire Richard Branson – has had a series of high profile announcements relating to the impact of the subsequent lockdown on the group in recent weeks.
The airline currently employs a total of about 10,000 people across the world.
Chief Executive Officer Shai Weiss said: “We have weathered many storms since our first flight 36 years ago, but none has been as devastating as COVID-19. 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.”
The news of over 3000 proposed job losses at Virgin Atlantic is devastating for those who work for the airline and BALPA is doing all it can to support members affected. There are 426 pilots at risk. This is another terrible blow for the industry and is evidence of the dire situation facing UK aviation.
In response, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) stated that without immediate action by the government the UK’s once world-leading industry will be totally decimated. The result of this will have an effect throughout the UK economy and to all the other industries that rely on aviation. Virgin, for example, applied for Government support weeks ago and Treasury is still prevaricating.
BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said: “Our members and all staff in Virgin Atlantic will be shocked by the scale of this bombshell. We will be challenging Virgin very hard to justify this. My letter to the Chancellor yesterday is all the more significant – why is the Government sitting on its hands while aviation plunges further towards a death spiral? Government should call a moratorium on job losses in aviation and lead a planned recovery.”