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Virgin Atlantic set to cut more than 3,000 UK jobs amid coronavirus crisis

Virgin Atlantic has said it will axe 3,150 jobs. Credit: PA

Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to cut more than 3,000 jobs from its UK operation and end its operation at Gatwick, with the coronavirus crisis looking like it will impact the travel industry for many more months.

The airline announced it plans to cut almost one third - 3,150 - of its 10,000 UK employees after its Australian wing went into administration in mid-April.

Virgin Atlantic also plans to reduce the size of its fleet of aircraft and will pull out of Gatwick Airport with an option to resume flights there in future, “in line with demand”.

It is believed many of the job losses will come due to the airline pulling out of Gatwick.

Virgin Atlantic said uncertainty over when flying will resume as well as “unprecedented market conditions” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic had “severely reduced revenues”.

"To safeguard our future and emerge a sustainably profitable business, now is the time for further action to reduce our costs, preserve cash and to protect as many jobs as possible," Chief Executive Shai Weiss said.

“I wish it was not the case, but we will have to reduce the number of people we employ.”

The move will leave Virgin Atlantic with just two UK operations; Heathrow and Manchester.

The airline said it would also be moving its flying programme from London Gatwick to London Heathrow, with the intention of retaining its slot portfolio at Gatwick so it can return in line with customer demand.

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The news is the latest in a series of negative developments for the airline industry since the Covid-19 outbreak began.

Last week it was announced there would soon be make up to 12,000 redundancies at British Airways.

BA has also said grounded flights not resume from Gatwick when borders reopen and restrictions are lifted.

The airline, which employs 42,000 people, has suffered from the global collapse in passenger numbers caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Parent company IAG said BA will consult on a “restructuring and redundancy programme” as it is expected to take “several years” until demand for air travel returns to 2019 levels.

It added: “The proposals remain subject to consultation but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them.”