Virgin Atlantic Cuts 3,000 Jobs, Shuts Gatwick Operations

Virgin Atlantic has announced it is to cut more than 3,000 jobs, representing one-third of its workforce, in the U.K. and end its operation at Gatwick Airport, according to The Guardian. Previously, Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Group, said Virgin Atlantic would not survive without help and even offered his private island, Necker Island, as collateral against a loan.

The Guardian’s report says that Virgin Atlantic’s efforts to secure a bailout were thought to be hindered by the fact that Delta Air Lines, which owns 49 percent of the company, had not injected more money. The report also notes that many feel the government should not receive a bailout because majority owner Branson does not reside in the UK for tax purposes.

At the end of April, British Airways announced it plans to lay off as many as 12,000 employees, totaling about 30 percent of its workforce. Another 900 employees were cut at Aer Lingus, while Ryanair announced it would cut 3,00 jobs. Many of British Airway’s redundancies were a part of its Gatwick Airport operation.

Virgin’s Gatwick flights have been moved to London Heathrow Airport; its base remains in Manchester.

While some have shown concern about the future of jobs at Gatwick a spokesperson told The Guardian that they are “very optimistic about the long-term prospects of Gatwick airport and our resilience as a business.”

Virgin, according to The Guardian, said it could take three years for flight numbers to return to 2019 levels.

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