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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.”

Coronavirus

How safe is my school in Crawley? Education union launches COVID-19 map

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The National Education Union, the largest education union in the UK and Europe which represents over 450,000 members has launched a new website that they say provides ‘accurate, accessible and up-to-date information about the Covid-19 rate in the locality of every school in England.’

The site is aimed at people being able to check what the levels of Covid are around the school and whether the school is on a watch list or not.

They say the site is updated weekly, and the data will show the number of Covid-19 cases in a school’s surrounding area, the trend since last week (an increase or decrease in case numbers), whether or not the school is on a watchlist, and links to any local restrictions in place.

They add:

“In much of the country the map will offer reassurance that case numbers are quite low. In others, it will reinforce public health messaging from local authorities and Government that cases are higher. In all situations it will encourage members of the public to follow all public health guidance.

Where cases are higher, it will support head teachers in encouraging parents and other visitors to school sites to maintain social distancing and hygiene.”

Commenting on the launch, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“Everyone in the education sector has worked hard to make full opening of schools, colleges and universities as successful as possible this autumn, but they have been let down by the Government which hasn’t even ensured that Covid testing has kept pace with need.

“But this website will also encourage parents to support our asks of the Government that they help to support safety in our schools and colleges.

“Parents, students and staff also need urgent answers on next year’s exams, and how fit for purpose they will be. This is in light of not only the past summer’s fiasco, but also the disruption of local lockdowns in the months ahead.”

You can check the information around your local school at their new site by clicking here.

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