How one airline’s pandemic hurt becomes everyone’s pain

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After more than a decade working at Manchester Airport in the northwest of England, Tracey Moore finally got the job she wanted — at Virgin Atlantic’s passenger check-in desk. Then, at 3:30 pm on Oct. 22, after about a year on the job and months on furlough, she returned to the airport and handed in her uniform.She had taken a buyout and left her dream job.“I’ve fought hard to get onto Virgin and that’s why I think I’m more upset,” Moore said. Devastated by how the pandemic had hollowed out the air travel industry, Moore took the buyout because she figured her hours and her pay would be cut, if she wasn’t one of the people eventually laid off.“I don’t think I had a real choice,” she said, adding, “I loved being in the uniform.”But she didn’t work for Virgin Atlantic. She was one of the thousands of people let go at Swissport, an international company that provides ground handling services for airlines, including passenger check-in and loading and unloading baggage.From check-in through takeoff and landing, travelers with Virgin Atlantic end up interacting with hundreds of other companies the airline has …

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