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UK airline Virgin Atlantic has decided to cut 3,150 jobs across all functions to help emerge from the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

The move is part of the carrier’s plan to reduce costs, preserve cash and return to profitability.

The airline is also entering a company-wide consultation period of 45 days, during which it will work with trade unions BALPA and Unite.

Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said: “We have weathered many storms since our first flight 36 years ago, but none has been as devastating as Covid-19 and the associated loss of life and livelihood for so many.

“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, while always keeping our people and customers at the heart of all we do.

“I wish it was not the case, but we will have to reduce the number of people we employ. The commitment of our people throughout this crisis has been nothing but amazing, and the embodiment of true Virgin spirit.

“As we have navigated the Covid-19 crisis, I have been humbled at every step by their solidarity. In times of adversity we must support each other so that ultimately, we can emerge a stronger and better Virgin Atlantic.”

In addition to layoffs, the carrier will close its flying programme from Gatwick Airport and move to Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic will only operate wide-body, twin-engine aircraft from London Heathrow and Manchester.