Freight News, Air

Virgin to slash four in five services

[ March 16, 2020   //   ]

Virgin Atlantic says it will put drastic measures in place to ensure its future including an 80% cut in scheduled flights by 26 March and parking three quarters of its fleet.

It will focus on core routes, depending on customer demand but its London Heathrow – Newark service will be permanently axed immediately.

Staff are being asked to take eight weeks unpaid leave over the next three months, with the cost spread over six months’ salary, to drastically reduce costs without job losses, with the support of the BALPA and UNITE unions.

It is also offering a one-time voluntary severance package to all employees, sabbaticals of 6-12 months and deferring annual pay increases until review in January 2021.

The carrier had already announced, on 4 March, a company-wide recruitment freeze and a proposed deferral of annual pay increases from March until August 2020, when affordability will be reassessed, based on the impact of Covid-19 at that point.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson commented: “The aviation industry is facing unprecedented pressure. We are appealing to the Government for clear, decisive and unwavering support. Our industry needs emergency credit facilities to a value of £5-7.5bn, to bolster confidence and to prevent credit card processors from withholding customer payments. We also need slot alleviation for the full summer 2020 season, so we can match supply to demand – reducing costs and preventing unviable flying and corresponding CO2 emissions. With this support, airlines including Virgin Atlantic, can weather this storm and emerge in a position to assist the nation’s economic recovery and provide the passenger and cargo connectivity that business and people across the country rely on.”