Virgin Atlantic will axe another 1,150 jobs taking total losses during pandemic to 4,700

Virgin Atlantic will axe another 1,150 jobs taking total losses during covid pandemic to 4,700 amid ‘quarantine roulette’ chaos and demands for airport testing

Virgin Atlantic has confirmed it could axe a further 1,150 jobs from across the company taking the total number of job losses to 4,700 during the coronavirus crisis.

The company has said they are ‘working closely with unions Unite and BALPA’ and that a company-wide consultation period of 45 days begins today.

It comes less than four months after axing 3,150 roles and announcing the closure of its base at London’s Gatwick Airport. 

The company confirmed a further 400 employees left through voluntary redundancy or early retirement.

The announcement has been made just days after securing a £1.2billion rescue deal. 

Virgin Atlantic has confirmed it could axe a further 1,150 jobs from across the company

In a statement, the firm said: ‘The devastating impact of Covid-19 on global aviation continues unabated and further steps must be taken to ensure survival

‘The last six months have been the most challenging in Virgin Atlantic’s history.

‘Even in the toughest times, the people of Virgin Atlantic are what sets it apart and they have made tremendous sacrifices.

‘Unfortunately, despite actions already taken to reshape and resize the business, regrettably the airline must go further one last time with changes at scale, to ensure it emerges from this crisis.’

It added that to mitigate as many cabin crew redundancies as possible, additionally, the airline is introducing a voluntary, Company-led and financed furlough scheme for an additional 600 crew when HM Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends at the end of October.

Should the Government extend its Scheme, the airline intends to continue to benefit from it.

Based on current outlook, the airline is planning to a scenario in which transatlantic flying from the UK does not extend beyond current skeleton operations until the beginning of 2021. 

The airline is calling on the UK and US governments to introduce testing regimes to help ease the restrictions on transatlantic travel.

The statement said: ‘As the airline increases passenger operations, the opening of US borders and removal of quarantine is imperative to recovery.

‘These travel restrictions impact on Virgin Atlantic disproportionately given its long-haul operations focused on the transatlantic.

‘The airline is calling for both UK and US governments to introduce robust passenger testing regimes to lift travel restrictions whilst protecting public health.’

It comes as it was revealed there are at least 30 countries which offer or accept coronavirus tests at airports.

Many have introduced systems where a negative test will either end the need to quarantine or reduce its length.

Some carry out testing on arrivals at the airport. Others also accept recent tests carried out before departure.

Countries where testing before flying or on arrival can reduce quarantine times include Germany, France and Austria.

Meanwhile, transport secretary Grant Shapps admitted the government’s coronavirus quarantine rules cause ‘confusion’ after England kept Portugal on the safe list – despite Scotland and Wales imposing curbs.

Amid rising anger from bewildered holidaymakers that the system amounts to ‘roulette’, the Transport Secretary conceded that starkly different approaches within the UK were a problem.

But he insisted that the Westminster government had assessed the best evidence and concluded that Portugal was still low-risk, and swiped at Scotland for decreeing that travellers from Greece must self-isolate this week before even seeing the latest data.

Mr Shapps also hinted that the government could take a more regional approach in future, and admitted that airport testing – demanded by many to save the aviation industry – could cut the 14-day quarantine period in half.