Virgin Atlantic Completes Restructuring, Will Lay Off Even More Employees

Filed Under: Virgin Atlantic

It’s both a good and bad for Virgin Atlantic, as the company’s future is secured (for now), but even more employees are being laid off.

Virgin Atlantic completes solvent recapitalization

For quite a while Virgin Atlantic‘s future was up in the air, as the airline was running out of cash. In mid-July, Virgin Atlantic announced plans for a private-only solvent recapitalization.

There’s some good news on that front, as Virgin Atlantic’s recapitalization has now been finalized. The restructuring plan has been sanctioned by the English High Court under Part 26A of the UK Companies Act 2006, and formally recognized in the US court (following Virgin Atlantic filing for Chapter 15 bankruptcy).

Virgin Atlantic is getting a refinancing package worth a total of £1.2 billion, in addition to self-help measures already taken, including cost savings of £280 million annually, as well as adjustments to aircraft deliveries over the next five years.

Here’s what the £1.2 billion in additional financing is comprised of:

  • The Virgin Group is investing a further £200 million
  • Shareholders are deferring £400 million of shareholder deferrals and waivers
  • Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, a global institutional investment management firm, is providing £170 million of secured financing
  • Creditors will support the airline with over £450 million of deferrals

As it’s described, this puts Virgin Atlantic in a position to rebuild its balance sheet, restore customer confidence, and welcome passengers back to the sky.

Virgin Atlantic has completed its restructuring

Yes, this means your flights, miles, etc., are safe

Given Virgin Atlantic’s financial situation up until this point, many people have been worried about whether their existing tickets will be honored, what would happen to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, etc.

With the restructuring now being finalized, Virgin Atlantic’s future is at least secured for the next couple of years, so your miles and tickets are safe, which is good news.

Redeeming Virgin Atlantic miles on ANA is a great deal

Virgin Atlantic announces further layoffs

With the lasting devastating impact of coronavirus, Virgin Atlantic has announced that even further layoffs are coming. Back in May, Virgin Atlantic revealed it would retire 747s, leave Gatwick Airport, and lay off 3,150 of its roughly 8,500 employees.

It’s now being announced that the airline has to reshape its workforce one last time. Virgin Atlantic plans to reduce its workforce by a further 1,150 positions. This means that Virgin Atlantic will have laid off just over half of its staff when all is said and done.

Virgin Atlantic will be working with BALPA to begin a 45-day company-wide consultation about further layoffs.

That’s just terrible…

Virgin Atlantic is laying off even more of its staff

Virgin Atlantic calls on relaxed travel restrictions, elimination of quarantines

Transatlantic flying historically represents 70% of Virgin Atlantic’s network. Obviously the airline is in an especially tough situation on that front right now:

In other words, travel between the US and UK isn’t exactly easy right now.

Like many other airlines, Virgin Atlantic is calling on both the UK and US governments to introduce robust passenger testing regimes to lift travel restrictions while still protecting public health.

As Virgin Atlantic views it, with current restrictions, the company’s survival is based on being able to cut costs and preserve cash as much as possible, rather than any flying opportunities.

Virgin Atlantic is currently planning for the following scenario:

  • Transatlantic flying from the UK won’t extend beyond the current “skeleton” operation until the beginning of 2021
  • This means that transatlantic capacity in the fourth quarter of 2020 will be somewhere around 25% of 2019 levels
  • Revenue in 2021 could be somewhere around 50% of 2019 levels

Unfortunately even that sounds optimistic at this point…

Virgin Atlantic is calling on more robust testing in the US & UK

Bottom line

On the plus side, Virgin Atlantic’s future is secured for the next couple of years, thanks to the airline completing its restructuring. Unfortunately at the same time it’s being revealed that even more jobs will be lost. When all is said and done, Virgin Atlantic will have laid off just over half of its workforce, which is so sad.

While all airlines are in a tough spot, Virgin Atlantic is in an especially unfortunate situation, given the extent to which its business relies on travel between the US and UK, for which demand is virtually non-existent right now.

  1. I’m relocating to London today and on BA. Out of 48 Business class seats, only 4 occupied. I will be in Quarantine for 14 days. The UK has you fill out an online form with all your contact details and may do random checks with a £1000 fine if caught violating. I’m in agreement on the restrictions coming from the States. We’re not controlling Covid and could make an already bad situation worse.

  2. Very unfortunate for those losing their jobs and I hope they can find something else soon.

    The part of Virgin Atlantic’s business that has been unsavory over the past few months has been their delay in any kind of refunds. Basically they have kept all the money paid to them (for both revenue and award tickets) and have delayed payments. In my case, it’s been nearly three months since I called them to get my points back (it was a partner flight on ANA) and still the taxes aren’t back.

    Have others had any luck with refunds here? What strategies have you used?

  3. VS CEO was interviewed this morning on Bloomberg TV. Using a very unconvincing Zoom background he remained upbeat, (no surprise there), despite the challenge with it’s current network.

    One telling item, was when asked how much money was owed in refunds to existing customers. 200 MM GBP was outstanding and they hoped to be able to return that to customers before November. This begs the question, with “only” 370 MM GBP in new money, how long will that last given their outstanding liabilities?

    I was supposed to fly in the new A350 suites LAX LHR a few weeks ago. Despite me trying to cancel because of the quarantine, I’m still awaiting a refund of miles and money. Currently it says I “no showed” despite requesting a refund h=when they finally resumed flying to LA in late July. I always has a soft spot for VS, not anymore.

  4. @David H – statistically the US has done a better job than the UK. Not just raw numbers but based on population. Also in many parts of the US the situation is getting better but the UK and much of Europe (especially Spain) are gearing up.

    Moral is don’t be too smug or look to blame others. This thing cycles through and makes people (of all beliefs and nationalities) look dumb. Speculation is NY is ripe for a 2nd wave. Then I guess Cuomo won’t be so smart.

    Either herd immunity (it really only has a .3% mortality rate based on study of 15% of the Icelandic population and even less if you filter out higher risk populations and co-morbidities), vaccine or improved medical treatments (anti-body, steroids, etc) will be end of it – now nationalistic or political BS. BTW treatment protocols are much better and experience now is no where near as bad as March/April. Things are changing quickly and the old days of shut downs and quarantines will be over soon.

  5. HinBM I did get my refund in early August. It was for a transatlantic flight in April that was cancelled end March. So basically it took 4+ months. I did email and phone. Responses were always positive if action was less so. I have little doubt they were/are preserving cash. I don’t blame them if the very business is at threat. I assume you will have had confirmation that the refund is agreed and being dealt with. Unfortunately not much you can do but wait.

  6. @HinBW, my refund from an ANA award ticket came about 3 months late. It was processed automatically without my bugging them about it.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.