Virgin Atlantic have announced they will cut 3,000 jobs and cease operations at Gatwick Airport, the second biggest airport in the UK based on passenger numbers.
While currently applying for an emergency loan from the UK government, the airline plans to reduce its 10,000 strong workforce by 20% with losses occurring at all levels of the business.
In response, pilots’ union Balpa have said the news highlights the “dire situation” facing the UK aviation industry. They also commit to “challenging Virgin very hard” to justify their decision.
Virgin Atlantic will also move their flying programme from Gatwick to London Heathrow. Chief Executive Shai Weiss is unsure of when the travel industry will recover from the crisis but says Virgin will keep their slots at Gatwick, where they have been flying from since 1984, in order to return in line with customer demand.
British Airways, which last week announced they will cut 12,000 staff, are also said to be considering consolidating their operations at London Heathrow by shifting their flying programme from Gatwick. Despite this, Gatwick Airport bosses remain confident about the long-term prospects and resilience of the business.
The aviation industry group Airlines UK have said the “challenges facing UK aviation cannot be overstated.” As a result of plummeting passenger demand airlines like easyJet have grounded their entire fleet. In the past week alone British Airways also announced they will cut 12,000 jobs and Ryanair will also reduce their workforce by 3,000.
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