Virgin Atlantic has just reopened cabin crew recruitment, marking the first time the airline has hired new cabin crew since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago. The airline said it was looking to recruit as many as 400 new crew “from all backgrounds, no matter age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, religion or beliefs”.
During the pandemic, Virgin Atlantic laid off nearly 5,000 staff including thousands of cabin crew. The airline did not take advantage of a generous government-funded furlough scheme that would have secured the livelihoods of employees while they waited for the travel industry to bounce back from the darkest days of the pandemic.
Since the United States lifted its far-reaching travel ban in November 2021 and many other countries have eased restrictions, Virgin Atlantic has been forced to quickly rehire laid-off cabin crew as demand surged.
Around 750 crew were rehired last year and a further 230 redundant employees will be reemployed in the first few months of 2022. Even then, the airline needs to hire even more cabin crew to keep up with demand.
“It’s the best jobs that make people fly, and we couldn’t be more excited to be welcoming so many new cabin crew members to the skies with our recruitment drive,” commented Estelle Hollingsworth, Virgin Atlantic’s chief people’s officer.
Hollingsworth was promoted after leading the business review that saw so many cabin crew made redundant.
Virgin Atlantic is only willing to offer successful applicants an initial six-month contract which could be extended if the business is still performing strongly.
Results of an internal staff satisfaction survey are due to be released later this week and are expected to reveal that staff morale has been severely impacted by changes at the airline during the pandemic.