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Airlines axe tens of thousands of jobs in battle to survive

Airlines axe tens of thousands of jobs in battle to survive as passenger numbers slump amid coronavirus crisisVirgin Atlantic offers all of its 10,000 employees voluntary redundancy in crisisMajor airlines including Ryanair and Easyjet reveal drastic plan to ground flights British Airways owner IAG to cut three-quarters of flights in the next two monthsCoronavirus symptoms: what are…

Airlines axe tens of thousands of jobs in battle to survive as passenger numbers slump amid coronavirus crisis

  • Virgin Atlantic offers all of its 10,000 employees voluntary redundancy in crisis
  • Major airlines including Ryanair and Easyjet reveal drastic plan to ground flights 
  • British Airways owner IAG to cut three-quarters of flights in the next two months
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

By James Salmon Associate City Editor For The Daily Mail

Published: | Updated:

Airlines are preparing to temporarily lay off tens of thousands of staff without pay.

Amid warnings of an industry collapse within weeks, BA-owner IAG, EasyJet, Ryanair and Norwegian all revealed drastic plans to slash costs and ground flights.

Virgin Atlantic said staff had agreed to take eight weeks of unpaid leave over the next three months, with the salary docked from workers’ pay over six months so their income does not dry up.

Airlines are preparing to temporarily lay off tens of thousands of staff without pay. Amid warnings of an industry collapse within weeks, BA-owner IAG, EasyJet, Ryanair and Norwegian all revealed drastic plans to slash costs and ground flights. Planes are seen parked in Germany

All 10,000 employees of the company, founded and controlled by Richard Branson, will also be offered voluntary redundancy. 

In a sign of the scale of the coronavirus crisis, the airlines have been backed by the union Unite and pilots association Balpa.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, told Boris Johnson: ‘If you do not take urgent action to support the aviation industry in the UK, there is absolute certainty that tens of thousands of jobs will be put at risk, and the industry will be unable to resume effectively once this health crisis has passed.’ 

Virgin Atlantic said staff had agreed to take eight weeks of unpaid leave over the next three months, with the salary docked from workers’ pay over six months so their income does not dry up [File photo]

Virgin Atlantic called for £7.5billion in emergency loans while transport secretary Grant Shapps promised to meet airline bosses.

He told Sky News: ‘We want to make sure that companies and individuals and organisations who are in a good state – not those that are going to fail anyway – are able to continue.’ 

The most extreme measures were taken by Norwegian, which is the third largest airline at Gatwick. 

In a sign of the scale of the coronavirus crisis, the airlines have been backed by the union Unite and pilots association Balpa. Planes are seen grounded in Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong

It is temporarily laying off around 7,300 staff – 90 per cent of its workforce.

The airline which is saddled with debt, has lost more than 80 per cent of its market value since the start of the year. 

IAG, which has announced three-quarters of flights will be cut over the next two months, also said it was ‘taking actions to reduce operating expenses and improve cash flow’.

These include temporarily suspending employment contracts, reducing working hours and offering staff unpaid leave.

The group, which also owns Iberia and Vueling, employs 66,000 staff.

Its chief executive Willie Walsh stressed that he had not requested a government bail-out and insisted IAG was ‘resilient with a strong balance sheet’.

IAG, which has announced three-quarters of flights will be cut over the next two months, also said it was ‘taking actions to reduce operating expenses and improve cash flow’. British Airways planes are seen above grounded at Heathrow

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