Virgin job cuts 'heart-breaking but essential' in £1.2bn rescue deal

Virgin Atlantic plans to cut 1,150 more jobs and has completed its £1.2 billion rescue deal, the airline said.

The announcement comes less than four months after the carrier axed 3,150 roles and ended its operations at Gatwick Airport due to the collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief executive Shai Weiss said: “Together, we have achieved what many thought impossible and that is down to the efforts and sacrifices of so many across the company.

“The completion of the private-only, solvent recapitalisation of Virgin Atlantic removes much of the uncertainty we faced and represents a major step forward in our fight for survival".

Virgin Atlantic does not expect air travel demand to return to normal until 2023 Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

The latest job cuts are part of “further downsizing across the business”, Virgin Atlantic said in a statement.

It has started a 45-day consultation period with unions Unite and Balpa.

The airline’s £1.2 billion bailout was completed following approval by courts in the UK and the US.

The deal involves only private funds, and includes a cash injection of £200 million from founder Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

A part of the package, creditors agreed to accept 20% less than they are owed and for the carrier’s repayments to be rescheduled.

The airline warned last month it could run out of money by the end of September if the deal was rejected.

Mr Weiss added: “We greatly appreciate the support of our shareholders, creditors and new private investors and together, we will ensure that the airline continues to provide vital connectivity and competition.

“After the sacrifices so many of our people have made, further reducing the number of people we employ is heart-breaking but essential for survival.

“I truly hope that as demand returns, we will see many members of our team returning to us.”