Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will be cutting around 500 managerial and support jobs. The news comes just months after the airline announced a return to profit.
In a statement, the carrier said the jobs cull was being undertaken in a bid to create a simpler and more efficient structure with fewer management layers.
The airline, which currently employs around 9,000 people, said cuts will be made through re-deployment and redundancies and the process should be complete by the end of the year.
Details on where the job losses will occur have not been provided. However, it has been established that none of the cuts will affect front-line staff who deal with customers.
Commenting on the news, Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive Craig Kreeger admitted there were some difficult decisions to make, but emphasised the importance of efficiency and agility for the good of the business.
“To truly position Virgin Atlantic for long-term and sustained success, we need to be a more efficient and agile organisation that has the ability to invest even more in the areas that make Virgin Atlantic’s customer experience unique,” he said.
He noted that the company is very people-oriented and that made the job cuts even harder: “These are extremely tough decisions to take, but we know they are necessary.”
First profit in three years
In March, Virgin Atlantic reported a £14.4 million pre-tax profit – the first profit in three years, and Mr Kreeger has pledged to restore sustained record profits by 2018.
He said that the airline had “delivered against a successful recovery programme and now it is time to realise our full potential”.
Last year, the airline, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson, announced a £300 million programme of investment. This included plans to install WiFi on all its aircraft by the end of 2016, as well as a promise of better food on all flights. In addition, the company is upgrading its fleet with newer and more efficient planes – five of the 17 Boeing 787 Dreamliners that have been ordered are now in service.
The airline also scrapped a number of unprofitable routes – these mostly included more exotic global destinations. Instead, the company is focusing on transatlantic routes in a tie-up with US carrier Delta.
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