British airline Virgin Atlantic said on Tuesday it planned to cut 3,150 jobs and would move its flying programme from London Gatwick to Heathrow airport as it counts the cost of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The spread of the novel coroanvirus has virtually brought airports around the globe to a standstill, leaving airlines taking drastic steps to make savings.
British Airways said last week it could cut as many as 12,000 jobs, over a quarter of its total, and Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Shai Weiss said the pandemic was the most devastating event in the airline’s history.
“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,” Weiss said in a statement.
“It is crucial that we return to profitability in 2021. This will mean taking steps to reshape and resize Virgin Atlantic in line with demand.”
Virgin Atlantic said it continued to explore all available options to get extra funding through talks with the government and other stakeholders about possible support for the airline.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said it was a terrible blow for the industry, and urged the government to stop “prevaricating” and help the aviation sector.
“Government should call a moratorium on job losses in aviation and lead a planned recovery,” BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said.