Virgin Atlantic staff told to take eight weeks unpaid leave
Published on Monday, March 16, 2020
Virgin Atlantic has told staff to take two of the next three months off unpaid in a move that the airline hopes will avoid job losses.
The airline said it had the support of BALPA and Unite for its enhanced series of measures, which also include one-time voluntary severance, six-12 month sabbaticals, deferring staff pay increases until the January 2021 review.
Earlier this month, Virgin said its top execs would take temporary pay cuts as part of a raft of measures during the downturn. Today the airline said chief executive Shai Weiss has extended his 20% pay cut to the end of the year and other senior execs have also extended their 15% pay cuts for the same amount of time.
Virgin has reduced its flight schedule by 80% and said it will prioritise ‘core routes based on customer demand’.
In a statement, Virgin said: “This change amounts (to an) approximately 80% reduction in flights per day by 26 March. As a direct consequence we will be parking approximately 75% of our fleet by 26 March and at points in April will go up to 85%.
“Owing to restrictions to international travel, the airline is reducing services to focus on core routes, depending on customer demand. This will be subject to constant review as the situation evolves.”
It added: “Our London Heathrow-Newark route will be permanently terminated with immediate effect.”
At the weekend, Virgin said it would write to the Government to ask for a £7.4bn bailout to keep the aviation industry going.