How Virgin Atlantic’s job-cutting could become the norm for larger carriers

Published: 10 May 2020 - 1 p.m.

Just yesterday GlobalData said that major airlines feel a leaner, more agile business is what is needed and that they will shrink. Virgin Atlantic’s announcement today serves as further proof of this and shows that the impact of COVID-19 on airlines will not be short-lived.

Like British Airways’ recent announcement, the news from Virgin Atlantic today is sad but unsurprising. It is also eerily similar in terms of the detail: warning of job losses and a possible cessation of operations at Gatwick. There is a clear point of commonality: becoming smaller, and this mirrors noises coming from major US carriers American Airlines and Delta.

Job losses are never welcome news, but the demand disruption caused by the coronavirus has left airlines the world over in a fight for survival. They are having to make tough, unenviable choices.

They need to preserve cash and cut costs to ensure they live to fight another day, particularly as it becomes increasingly apparent that the impact will of the pandemic will be measured in years not months.

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