Staff from across Virgin Atlantic’s operations, from cabin crew and pilots, to ground and office-based teams, have signed up for voluntary and paid opportunities to assist the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and St John’s Ambulance service in rolling out Covid-19 vaccines over the coming months. This is not the first time the airline’s staff have helped in the fight against the virus, as many Virgin Atlantic employees, including those with medical training, have been furloughed on the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and have offering to apply some of their free time – and skills – in supporting the health services.
From administering the vaccine to patient welfare and managing the logistics of the vaccine centres, Virgin Atlantic’s staff enrolled in the scheme will undergo rigorous training in order to support the vaccination programme. The airline’s highly trained crews and efficient logistics teams should be of great benefit to the programme, helping save lives and also helping to reinvigorate the economy – and aviation.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo has also been involved in the response to the pandemic, having carried over 1,500 tonnes of essential medical supplies including respirators, ventilator parts, face masks, scrubs, testing kits, aprons and eye protection and PPE equipment into the UK. The airline also stands ready to play a part in supporting the Covid-19 recovery by transporting vaccines and pharmaceutical products to the UK and around the world throughout its global network.
Corneel Koster, chief customer and operating officer at Virgin Atlantic commented, “We are very grateful to the NHS for everything they are doing in extremely challenging circumstances. The mass vaccination programme is the only solution to beating this pandemic and we’re committed to help in any way we can, to support gearing up vaccinations as fast as possible.”
“We are very proud of our highly skilled people at Virgin Atlantic and since the beginning of the crisis we have received an amazing response, with hundreds keen to sign up and support the NHS and frontline emergency services. Our people undergo rigorous training programmes in their roles, which include medical, safety and customer service training, and the NHS recognises the value and experience they will bring to this crucial mass vaccination programme,” he added.
The NHS is offering a fast-track application process for Virgin Atlantic staff, who will all undergo training before being deployed, ready to support the NHS teams within days in the UK’s mass vaccination centres as well as in local vaccination facilities.