Virgin Atlantic Announces Further Major Job Losses

While announcing the completion of a £1.2bn rescue plan, Virgin Atlantic has unveiled a range of steps it will be taking to protect the business 

Crawley-based airline Virgin Atlantic is set to cut 1,150 more jobs following the completion of a £1.2bn recapitalisation plan which it says will secure its future for at least the next 18 months. 

The restructuring proposal has now been sanctioned by the English High Court and a US court. This final step of the legal process paves the way for the company to continue its efforts to weather the COVID-19 crisis and to emerge on the other side as a profitable airline. 

Airbus
Prior to COVID-19, Virgin Atlantic's workforce topped 10,000. It's now down more than 50%. Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory

Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic said: “Together, we have achieved what many thought impossible and that is down to the efforts and sacrifices of so many across the company. The completion of the private-only, solvent recapitalisation of Virgin Atlantic removes much of the uncertainty we faced and represents a major step forward in our fight for survival. We greatly appreciate the support of our shareholders, creditors and new private investors and together, we will ensure that the airline continues to provide vital connectivity and competition.” 

A statement from the carrier said the last six months “have been the most challenging in Virgin Atlantic’s history”.  

It continued: “Unfortunately, despite actions already taken to reshape and resize the business, regrettably the airline must go further one last time with changes at scale, to ensure it emerges from this crisis.”

 

744
The airline accelerated the retirement of its six remaining Boeing 747s earlier this year. Aviation Image Network/BaoLuo

Virgin Atlantic has announced downsizing across the whole business with a planned reduction of 1,150 jobs throughout all functions. The airline is also introducing a voluntary, company-led and financed furlough scheme for an additional 600 cabin crew when the government’s Job Retention Scheme ends at the end of October. 

Weiss added: “After the sacrifices so many of our people have made, further reducing the number of people we employ is heart-breaking but essential for survival. I truly hope that as demand returns, we will see many members of our team returning to us.” 

Pilot union, BALPA said that hardly a day goes by without “tough news from the aviation industry”. 

Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary commented: “Our reps are meeting with Virgin next week and I am hopeful that we will find a way through to avoid any further pilot redundancies. Every single job lost to this crisis is a tragedy and we are doing everything we can to mitigate job losses across the board. 

“Despite no help from Government, their financing is now secure. I am confident that Virgin Atlantic will get through this Coronavirus crisis and will emerge in a strong position.”