VIRGIN Atlantic is to cut a third of its staff in the UK and will keep its operation at Gatwick closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the airline giant run by billionaire Richard Branson announced yesterday.
Virgin is cutting 3,150 posts and the jobs will be lost across the board.
The airline will also not restart operations at Gatwick which have been suspended during the pandemic.
Virgin Atlantic also plans to reduce the size of its fleet of aircraft from 45 to 35 by the summer of 2022.
Unite national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson said: ‘The decision to make 3,150 staff redundant across Virgin’s holiday and airline businesses is another devastating blow to the UK’s beleaguered aviation industry.
‘It is also premature as the government’s job retention scheme (JRS) is still up and running and being fully utilised by the company.
‘The company as yet have not formally notified us of the detail of their proposals and we urge them not to act in haste whilst the JRS is in operation.’
Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: ‘We have grave concerns about the impact on Gatwick airport and the local economy following this latest blow.
‘The Virgin announcement that it is pulling out of Gatwick follows that of Norwegian and BA indicating that they are reducing operations and pulling out of Gatwick.
‘There have been 18,000 job losses announced in the UK aviation sector in the last week alone and this makes the case even more strongly that the aviation industry-specific package Unite has consistently called for, and the government has promised, must now be delivered.
‘The UK has world class airline and aerospace companies – highly developed and world leading, but the sector needs support in the period of recovery from this pandemic, if it is to retain this position.
‘Thousands of jobs are dependent on the sector regaining its position. Other governments have delivered support to their aviation industry and it’s now time for the UK to make good on their promise and do the same.’