...but 1,000 jobs face the axe as part of Vir­gin At­lantic res­cue deal

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Oliver Gill and LaToya Hard­ing

VIR­GIN At­lantic Air­ways is ex­pected to slash an­other 1,000 jobs to­day as part of its £1.2bn res­cue deal, as the air­line sec­tor con­tin­ues to reel from the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

It comes as Ryanair last night sought to raise €400m (£360m) from in­vestors to bol­ster its fi­nances ahead of the tra­di­tion­ally loss-mak­ing win­ter months.

Sir Richard Bran­son’s Vir­gin At­lantic, which he founded in 1984, is bat­tling with slower than ex­pected de­mand for in­ter­na­tional travel, Sky News re­ported. The air­line al­ready axed 3,150 roles less than four months ago, as well as the clo­sure of its Gatwick Air­port base.

The fresh cuts would mean that Vir­gin At­lantic’s pre-pan­demic work­force level of around 10,000 staff has now halved. Mean­while, Ryanair, Europe’s big­gest car­rier, said it was go­ing through the most chal­leng­ing pe­riod in its his­tory as the fall­out of the pan­demic con­tin­ued to wreak havoc.

Ryanair will raise the cash from in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors. The money would al­low the car­rier to “cap­i­talise on sig­nif­i­cant post-Covid-19 growth op­por­tu­ni­ties”, strengthen cash re­serves and pay down debt, it said. As a ma­jor share­holder, Michael O’Leary, the chief ex­ec­u­tive, will in­vest roughly £16m into the air­line he has worked for since 1988, the stock mar­ket fil­ing in­di­cates.

Ryanair said the new money would give it the fi­nan­cial fire power to take ad­van­tage of gaps in the mar­ket left by fail­ing ri­vals. Fur­ther cash could be raised from bond mar­kets, it added.

The plac­ing came as air­lines and air­ports urged the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to ex­tend a cru­cial waiver on take-off and land­ing slots. So-called “use-it-or­lose-it” rules mean air­lines must use 80pc of their air­port slots each year or hand them back to a cen­tral pool.

Slots at ca­pac­ity-con­strained air­ports such as Heathrow are worth tens of mil­lions of pounds. With­out a waiver ex­ten­sion, car­ri­ers could be forced into run­ning empty ser­vices in or­der to pre­serve vi­tal footholds.

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