Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced that it plans to recruit 1500 staff over the next eighteen months as part of the airline’s expansion plans. The new positions are mainly operational staff with as many as 1100 cabin crew positions, 150 flight deck and 150 based at Heathrow and Gatwick airport, including many new engineering positions. Around 100 staff will be required at Virgin Atlantic’s headquarters and in office-based positions. Around 1000 of these will be new positions and the remainder are a result of the natural turnover of staff. Virgin Atlantic currently employs approximately 8500 staff worldwide. The airline’s expansion for the next 18 months includes new routes to Cuba and The Bahamas launched today, increased services to Shanghai, Las Vegas, Orlando and Port Harcourt this summer and new routes to Dubai and Jamaica due to be launched in 2006. In addition to the increase in the airline’s network, Virgin Atlantic’s fleet is also due to expand with seven A340-600 aircraft entering service by the end of 2006, taking the airline’s total number of aircraft to 39.
The expansion plans will also see sister company, Virgin Holidays drive recruitment over the next 18 months. The operator will provide a large percentage of the sales to support the airlines capacity increase into leisure routes such as Orlando, Jamaica and Las Vegas. In addition, the business will grow through a range of innovative new products and new destinations worldwide. New products have already included a taste of adventure programme, small hotels brochure announced today, plus some extensive growth plans throughout the rest of the world.
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, made the announcement at Gatwick airport before the airline’s inaugural flight to Cuba and The Bahamas;
“We are delighted to announce that Virgin Atlantic is continuing its expansion plans with the recruitment of 1500 staff and the addition of more exciting destinations to its route network.
“At a time when the airline industry is up against high oil prices with many struggling to survive, Virgin Atlantic added services to Sydney in December last year, Mumbai in March this year, Havana and Nassau this summer and will launch services between Manchester to Barbados later this year. Virgin Atlantic has also announced that it will launch services to Jamaica and Dubai in 2006.
“We look forward to welcoming more people to come and work for the airline which can offer fantastic opportunities. We know that its through creating a culture where people love to work that we’ll continue to build an airline which people love to fly.”
Virgin Atlantic launched a third weekly service between Gatwick and Port Harcourt in April and will add fifth and sixth weekly services between Gatwick and Las Vegas in July and September respectively. The airline will be also be increasing services between Heathrow and Shanghai from five a week to daily by the end of 2006.