Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic latest to announce thousands of job cuts

Photo Credit: Tomas Del Coro

State-owned Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic are the latest airlines to announce plans to cut large numbers of jobs due to the impact of coronavirus pandemic.

In a notice to staff Akbar al-Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways warned: “The truth is, we simply cannot sustain the current numbers and we need to make a substantial number of jobs redundant – inclusive of cabin crew.”

The airline employs 46,684 staff and is cutting costs along with rivals Etihad and Emirates who have both cut wages.

On Tuesday privately owned Virgin Atlantic, which was founded by entrepreneur Richard Branson, and is 49% owned by U.S. airline Delta DAL, -3.27%, warned it may cut 3,150 jobs, or about 30% of its staff, and move operations from the smaller London-area airport Gatwick to the bigger Heathrow.

Airlines from around the world have been forced to take dramatic steps to cut costs as people stay home to avoid contracting the coronavirus disease COVID-19. Fleets of aircraft lay grounded in hangars while staff have been furloughed or told they risk redundancy.