VIRGIN ATLANTIC SAYS IT WILL CUT FLIGHTS BY AT LEAST 75% AND STAFF WILL BE ASKED TO TAKE 8 WEEKS UNPAID LEAVE DURING THE NEXT THREE MONTHS
The airline industry is in for times, British Airways,Jet2, Easyjet, Norwegian Air and now Virgin have to concede the problem will only get worse as demand dives to an all-time low and governments all around the cap air travel in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Britain’s airline industry needs emergency government support worth up to £7.5bn to avert a catastrophe that would wipe out tens of thousands of jobs, Boris Johnson will be told next week.
Peter Norris, the chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways’ majority shareholder, Virgin Group, will write to the prime minister today to warn that the sector needs immediate financial aid to survive.
The airline is one of many to have brought in drastic measures to cope with a fall in passenger demand, due to global travel restrictions and the reluctance to travel due to the disease.
Bosses said the cost would be spread over six months’ salary to “drastically reduce costs without job losses”.
In other coronavirus-related aviation news:
- United Airlines will cut capacity by 50% in April and May. March brought $1.5bn (£1.2bn) less revenue than the same time last year
- United warns many of its planes could fly empty well into the summer months and corporate salaries will be cut in half
- Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, representing 50,000 US flight attendants, calls on Congress to “take all measures available to protect the health and payroll of American workers”
- Germany’s Tui AG and Scandinavian airline SAS will suspend most operations and apply for government help
- Icelandair Group says will cut capacity and reduce its salary cost “significantly”
- Air New Zealand will cut jobs, reduce long haul capacity by 85%. Chief executive Greg Foran says: “We are accepting that for the coming months at least, Air New Zealand will be a smaller airline requiring fewer resources, including fewer people”
- Australia’s Qantas will add further cuts to the 25% reduction announced last week
The World Travel and Tourism Council last week warned that up to 50 million jobs globally were at risk in the sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It could be a sign of things to come…