Virgin Atlantic to cut 600 jobs and tenth of services | Business |

Virgin Atlantic Atlantic has announced plans to axe almost a tenth of its services this winter with the loss of up to 600 jobs as the recession continues to bite into the airline industry.

The Richard Branson-led company said it would not run its daily service from Heathrow to Chicago this coming winter and was suspending one of its two daily services between Heathrow and Hong Kong.

It added that there would be additional frequency reductions on some other routes throughout the winter, with a total capacity cut of 7% compared with last winter.

Rival British Airways has been badly hit by the slump and announced that it had asked the arbitration service Acas to mediate in its pay and job cuts dispute with unions after negotiations collapsed yesterday.

Virgin said that it would shortly start consultations with staff "about the possibility of up to 600 redundancies across the business".

Promising to avoid making compulsory redundancies, Virgin Atlantic's chief executive, Steve Ridgway, said: "The outlook for the industry is as bleak as ever and all airlines are having to shrink their businesses. The fittest will survive and be in a stronger position when the economy grows."