Ben Dolbear on the demise of Virgin Atlantic instigated by a slump in demand thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo by Julia Khalimova
Virgin Group has opened a month-long round of emergency conversations with staff as over 3,000 jobs are set to be permanently cut as demand for international flights drops by 94%, with numbers not expected to fully recover until at least 2023.
With a dark future looking likely for Virgin Atlantic, majority owner Richard Branson, who is estimated by Forbes to be worth over £4.5 billion, has made a plea to the British government to prop up the firm while it gets back on its feet.
Virgin, a brand initially associated with music records, launched its first flight across the Atlantic Ocean on 22nd June, 1984, after Branson saw opportunity to take on state-controlled British Airways after free marketeer Margaret Thatcher took over the premiership of the UK government. In more recent years, Virgin Atlantic has struggled, and in 2014 the firm registered pre-tax losses of £174.7m whilst net debt stood at over half a billion pounds.