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COVID-19: Virgin Atlantic to cut 3,000 jobs and leave Gatwick Airport

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In a move to protect the airline Virgin Atlantic is now preparing to cut around one third of its workforce of 10,000.

The airline has announced that 3,150 jobs are to be cut.

The airline will also stop operations at its Gatwick Airport base, moving it’s leisure flying to Heathrow.

But the airline will keep its slots at Gatwick and look to lease them out to other airlines in a move that will also allow the airline to return to Gatwick at some point.

According to reports trade unions and staff were briefed on the redundancies this lunchtime (5th May).

A statement from Virgin Atlantic said:

‘Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to reshape and resize its business to ensure that is it fit for the future, in response to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy, our nation and the travel and aviation industry. Following the pattern of previous crises including 9/11 and the Global Financial Crisis, capacity across the aviation industry will significantly reduce, with recovery to pre-crisis levels expected to take up to three years. Uncertainty around when flying will resume, coupled with unprecedented market conditions brought on by the pandemic, has severely reduced revenues for the global aviation industry and Virgin Atlantic.  ‘

Virgin to stop flying the 747-400’s

The airline is to also cut use of all of its seven 747-400s, with four A330-200 aircraft retiring in early 2022 as already planned.  By 2022 the fleet will comprise of 36 twin engine aircraft.

Virgin Holidays is to also be rebranded to Virgin Atlantic Holidays with plans to close 15% of its branded stores.

Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic commented:

“We have weathered many storms since our first flight 36 years ago, but none has been as devastating as Covid-19 and the associated loss of life and livelihood for so many.

“However, 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. 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, while always keeping our people and customers at the heart of all we do.

“I wish it was not the case, but we will have to reduce the number of people we employ. The commitment of our people throughout this crisis has been nothing but amazing, and the embodiment of true Virgin spirit. As we have navigated the Covid-19 crisis, I have been humbled at every step by their solidarity. In times of adversity we must support each other so that ultimately, we can emerge a stronger and better Virgin Atlantic.

“After 9/11 and the Global Financial Crisis, we took similar painful measures but fortunately many members of our team were back flying with us within a couple of years. Depending on how long the pandemic lasts and the period of time our planes are grounded for, hopefully the same will happen this time.

“Our vision for Virgin Atlantic remains the same – to become the most loved travel company, for our people and our customers. Once the crisis stabilises, Virgin Atlantic has an important role to play in contributing to the UK’s economic recovery, providing essential connectivity and competition.”

Charity

Gatwick Fire Service to run marathon on airports runway for charity

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It will consist of running 13 lengths of the 3.3km main runway, but WHite Watch Gatwick Fire Service hope to raise money for local hospital charity (SASH).

Taking place on Sunday 14th June, the crew will be running the 13 lengths as a relay, with the final distance being just over that of a marathon.

Taking advantage of the lack of flow during periods of the day, they will use those opportunities to ‘do something different and raise awareness for our local NHS staff putting themselves on the line every day during this pandemic’.

The money will help the staff at East Surrey Hospital and Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust during the Covid 19 situation.

If you would like to help with a donation you can do so at their JustGiving page here.

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