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Virgin Atlantic positions itself for post-Covid19 future

  • 05 May 2020
  • News
  • Virgin Atlantic

A message from Lee Haslett - Virgin Atlantic Optimising our network and simplifying our fleet

Dear Valued Partner,

We need to let you know of some changes to our business.

Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to reshape and resize its business to ensure that is it fit for the future, in response to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy, our nation and the travel and aviation industry. Following the pattern of previous crises including 9/11 and the Global Financial Crisis, capacity across the aviation industry will significantly reduce, with recovery to pre-crisis levels expected to take up to three years. Uncertainty around when flying will resume, coupled with unprecedented market conditions brought on by the pandemic, has severely reduced revenues for the global aviation industry and Virgin Atlantic.  

Accordingly, the airline has taken decisive action to reduce costs, preserve cash and to protect as many jobs as possible. Virgin Atlantic continues to explore all available options to obtain additional external funding. Constructive discussions with several stakeholders, including HM Government, are ongoing, while the Company continues to benefit from shareholder support. However, to safeguard the future of the airline so it can emerge from this crisis a sustainably profitable business, further action is required.

Our vision is more important than ever, but our path forward must change
Virgin Atlantic’s vision remains to become the most loved travel company and the sustainability leader in our industry. To emerge from this crisis, against an uncertain backdrop, the airline must radically adapt, so that it can continue to thrive, while always keeping its people and customers at the heart of everything it does. Once the crisis subsides, Virgin Atlantic will make a significant contribution to the UK’s economic recovery by providing essential connectivity and competition.

As Virgin Atlantic aims to establish itself as the sustainability leader, it will fly only wide-body, twin-engine aircraft from London Heathrow and Manchester to the most popular destinations. It will be moving its flying programme from London Gatwick to London Heathrow, with the intention of retaining its slot portfolio at London Gatwick, so it can return in line with customer demand.


From today, Virgin Atlantic will no longer use all of its seven 747-400s, with four A330-200 aircraft retiring in early 2022 as planned.  By 2022 the simplified, greener fleet will comprise of 36 twin engine aircraft reducing CO2/RTK emissions by an estimated further 10%, building on the 18% efficiency already achieved between 2007-2019.

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