Virgin Atlantic to layoff 1150 more jobs

Virgin Atlantic is to layoff 1,150 additional jobs after completing a £1.2bn rescue plan that will secure its future for at least 18 months.

The airline had already laid off over 3,500 jobs out of the 10,000 staffs it had at the starting of 2020.

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The airline said it had to reduce costs in order to survive.

“Until travel returns in greater numbers, survival is predicated on reducing costs further and continuing to preserve cash,” it said.

“The outlook for transatlantic flying, which is core to Virgin Atlantic’s business, remains uncertain with US-UK travel curtailed,” the airline said.

It said the past six months had been “the most challenging in Virgin Atlantic’s history”, and that “regrettably the airline must go further one last time with changes at scale, to ensure it emerges from this crisis”.

The company added that a 45-day consultation period would start on Friday with unions.

To try to cut down on crew redundancies, it said it would launch a voluntary, company-financed furlough scheme for 600 crew members when the government-backed scheme ends next month.

‘A TRAGEDY’

Pilots union Balpa said that it hoped to avoid 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,” said Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton.

“Despite no help from government, their financing is now secure,” he added.

US carrier Delta Air Lines, which owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic, said the rescue plan was “an important part of protecting Delta’s position in the UK, particularly in the critical London Heathrow market,” as it vies against American Airlines and British Airways.

The pandemic has had a serious effect on the aviation industry as lockdowns and quarantines hit air travel. Airlines, airports and tour firms have collectively shed thousands of jobs.

Virgin got approval for its rescue plan from UK and US courts this week.

The £1.2bn agreement involves £400m in new cash, half of which will come from its main shareholder, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss said: “Together, we have achieved what many thought impossible and that is down to the efforts and sacrifices of so many across the company.”

He called for “urgent government action” to introduce passenger testing to help remove travel restrictions.

Since the 16 March it has not been possible for many travellers from the UK to get into the US if they do not have US citizenship and if they have been in the UK, Ireland, the Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, or China within the past two weeks, reports BBC.

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