Virgin Atlantic is cutting its capacity by 80% and pulling its Heathrow-Newark service for good.

The transatlantic carrier said it would only operate core routes based on customer demand.

Approximately 80% of daily flights will be cut until March 26 and 75% of its fleet parked. In April, up to 85% of its planes will be grounded.

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The airline is also making wide-reaching cuts across its business.

All staff are being offered a one-time voluntary severance package or a sabbatical of 6-12 months.

Annual pay increases have now been deferred until January 2021 and employer pension contributions have been reduced for one year.

The new measures follow those announced on March 4 which included a company-wide recruitment freeze and restrictions on all non-essential staff travel and training.

Chief executive Shai Weiss has extended his 20% pay cut to the end of 2020 and Virgin’s executives have agreed to a 15% cut over the same period.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “The aviation industry is facing unprecedented pressure. We are appealing to the government for clear, decisive and unwavering support.

“Our industry needs emergency credit facilities to a value of £5-7.5bn, to bolster confidence and to prevent credit card processors from withholding customer payments.

“We also need slot alleviation for the full summer 2020 season, so we can match supply to demand – reducing costs and preventing unviable flying and corresponding CO2 emissions.

“With this support, airlines including Virgin Atlantic, can weather this storm and emerge in a position to assist the nation’s economic recovery and provide the passenger and cargo connectivity that business and people across the country rely on.”