Thursday 5 November 2015

USA: Virgin Atlantic Sacks 50 Senior Hong Kong Cabin Crew

The airline will keep junior flight attendants while operating HK flights with 10 crew instead of 12 in money-saving measure.

Virgin Atlantic Airways will lay off 50 Hong Kong cabin crew by March next year, about two-thirds of its total, in a cost-cutting exercise targeting senior staff.

In a letter Virgin said cabin service supervisors and senior cabin crew members would lose their jobs. A team of 30 junior Cantonese-speaking cabin crew is unaffected.

Just over 18 months ago, the airline axed half of its flight attendants after scrapping flights from Hong Kong to Sydney.

The letter sent to affected employees said: “I am writing to confirm that the Company is proposing to remove the senior and CSS [cabin service supervisors] cabin crew ranks in Hong Kong.

“After very careful consideration we have decided to simplify our rank structure by having one rank of cabin crew that will work across all cabins, and as a result, from 31 March 2016, we will no longer have a Senior Cabin Crew role.”

The secretary-general of the Hong Kong Cabin Crew Federation, Carol Ng Man-yee, described it as “horrible news”.
I feel really upset all of a sudden because I didn’t expect this to happen.


A flight attendant with almost 20 years of experience told the Post on condition of anonymity: “Virgin announced it this evening at 6pm, and called all cabin supervisors and senior cabin crew to the meeting.

“The decision to make redundancies was made by headquarters. I feel really upset because I didn’t expect this to happen and maybe they would have offered voluntary redundancy.”

It is understood that Virgin did not offer cabin crew the option of part-time work or reduced seniority.

The airline, majority controlled by British billionaire Richard Branson, said the redundancies were “all about creating a customer focused organisation that’s consistently profitable and can help us achieve our … targets. This includes looking at what the cost base and size of our airline should be.”

Virgin says its average cost per seat – excluding fuel – is £228 while rival BA’s is £206.

A trial is under way to operate Virgin’s sole London Heathrow to Hong Kong flight with 10 crew instead of 12 – part of the same money-saving measures.

Virgin Atlantic has been contacted for comment.

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