UK airline, Virgin Atlantic, says it will cut 3,150 jobs owing to the COVID19 pandemic. The move aims to cut costs and preserve cash. CEO Shai Weiss said the company will go into a 45 day consultation period to discuss the headcount reduction with trade unions.
Virgin will also close its Gatwick Airport operations with the CEO saying that there is no certainty when the air travel industry would recover from the coronavirus crisis. The aviation industry anticipates fewer passenger numbers should the lockdown restrictions ease and flight schedules increase.
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Across the UK, major airlines have announced redundancies that have left thousands of cabin crew, pilots and ground staff, without jobs. British Airways announced plans to retrench 12,000 workers with the job cut affecting almost 30% of the airline’s 45,000 workers, of which 22,626 workers have already been placed on a state-subsidized furlough plan. Irish budget airline Ryanair plans to retrench 3000 staff members and reduce employee wages by up to 20%.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) says in a 2020 air passenger forecast report that airlines may be faced with 1.5 billion fewer international air travelers this year. In addition, international seat capacity could drop by almost three-quarters, resulting in a 273 billion dollar loss.