Gatwick has said it remains “very optimistic” about its future prospects despite taking a series of hits during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The south London airport is currently operating from one terminal having seen demand for travel collapse in the wake of the pandemic.
Releasing its financial results earlier this month, officials at Gatwick added demand might not return to 2019 levels for as long as four years.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the aviation sector, but we remain confident that the industry will recover as air travel demand returns,” said a statement from Gatwick.
“We remain very optimistic about the long-term prospects of Gatwick Airport and our resilience as a business, and having remained open throughout this pandemic we are in a strong position to extend our current operations quickly to meet demand.”
“We are very saddened to hear the news about Virgin Atlantic’s plans,” added Gatwick in a statement.
“We have had a long, close and successful relationship with the airline since it made its maiden flight from Gatwick back in 1984.
“Virgin Atlantic will always be welcome at Gatwick and we will continue our efforts to explore ways to restart the airline’s operations as soon as possible, in the knowledge that they intend to retain their slot portfolio at Gatwick for when demand returns.
“This news will be devastating for its staff and the many local businesses that supply and support the airline at the airport and its HQ in Crawley, however we will continue to work with Virgin Atlantic to get them flying again from Gatwick.”
Low-cost carrier Norwegian, a major operator at Gatwick, does, however, appear to be winning its battle for survival.
“We will continue to work closely with our other airline partners, including easyJet, the IAG Group, Wizz, TUI and Ryanair to strengthen our business for the future.
“We also welcome the recent news that another of our major airline partners – Norwegian Airways – has taken important steps forward to secure its future at Gatwick,” concluded a statement from the airport.