Virgin staff asked to work at NHS ‘Nightingale’ hospitals as all flights are moved to Heathrow

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Virgin Atlantic’s staff are being recruited by the NHS to work at the new ‘Nightingale’ hospitals being set up to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.

The airline is writing to its 4,000 staff to offer them work alongside NHS workers caring for patients undergoing treatment for Coronavirus-related illnesses. The first of the new field hospitals will open later this week at the Excel Centre in Docklands, east London.

The NHS will prioritise airline cabin crew with first aid and CPR training. Those who sign up will perform clinical support roles, under the close instruction of nurses and senior clinicians on the wards at the NHS Nightingale Hospitals in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Virgin Atlantic asked staff to take eight weeks’ unpaid leave earlier this month as the airline became one of the many casualties of the Coronavirus pandemic which has swept across the globe. Last Thursday all of Virgin’s flights were moved to Heathrow as part of a reduction in flights. A spokesperson for the airline told Business Traveller: “Following the rapid acceleration of Covid-19 and extensive travel restrictions, coupled with a sharp drop in customer demand, Virgin Atlantic will gradually reduce its flying programme to operate a fleet of six aircraft for commercial and cargo services by Thursday March 26.

“In order to operate the fleet most efficiently, all of our remaining Virgin Atlantic flights will now operate out of London Heathrow Airport.”

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