Virgin Galactic announces flight reductions and employee layoffs
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. — If you haven’t watched a Virgin Galactic spacecraft launch, you may not get to see one for a while. That’s after the company recently announced it’s scaling back flights, and laying off 18% of its employees company-wide.
“It’s just going to mean less space flights from Virgin Galactic. And in turn, that will also mean a little bit less of an economic impact for the, you know, for the surrounding economy, such as Doña Ana and Sierra County,” said Charlie Hurley, Spaceport America public information officer.
Virgin Galactic is one of its main tenants, but Spaceport still has four others.
“Spaceport America is part owned and operated by the state of New Mexico. So just like any other state government authority, we operate, you know, on our own budget, our own fiscal year and things like that,” Hurley added when asked about the financial stability of Spaceport America.
Virgin Galactic plans to lay off 73 New Mexican employees, according to the Department of Workforce Solutions.
Virgin Galactic officials said the aerospace company wants to focus all of its attention on finishing the new Delta spacecraft, so Unity flights are shifting from once monthly to once a quarter.
Test flights are scheduled for 2025 on Delta and commercial flights are planned for 2026, officials said.
Virgin Galactic said by increasing flight frequency they can drive up profits too.
Spaceport America said it’ll continue to support Virgin Galactic, but it had no say in the cut backs.
The layoffs are scheduled in New Mexico to start in January 2014, according to Workforce Solutions.