Virgin Atlantic's job cuts could have been partially averted had a Covid testing regime been put in place earlier this year, according to the airline's boss.
Shai Weiss took the "heartbreaking" decision to axe up to 1,150 extra jobs as Sir Richard Branson's 36-year-old airline completed a £1.2bn rescue.
With more than 3,000 redundancies announced earlier in the year, the fresh wave of job cuts means almost half of the carrier’s pre-pandemic workforce will be axed.
Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to implement a testing programme to ease the need for travel quarantines.
The airline's chief executive said there had been a "massive effort" to get a scheme in place in recent months.
He said: "There is no doubt that if we had a summer where flying was possible between the US and UK… the need for this may have been significantly lower.
"If flying was free-flowing, we would probably have needed to reduce by less or not at all."
Backing The Telegraph’s Test4Travel campaign, Mr Weiss called for "urgent" action by ministers.
"You can tell that we have Zoom and Teams. But no-one said that when the email arrived, people would stop talking to each other. That has not happened.
"Closing deals, innovation and sparking ideas requires exchange of human capital."
Meanwhile, he warned the UK risks being left behind countries on the Continent.
"If we don’t move here there are about 20 to 30 European nations that have already factored testing into some kind of regime," he said. "If we don’t act, not only are we going to lose the leadership position that we have in airports and aviation; but the economic recovery of the UK requires open skies."
His comments came as Virgin Atlantic completed a radical restructuring designed to combat the fallout from the crisis in the coming years.
In the weeks that followed, Peter Norris, the chairman of Sir Richard’s Virgin Group, wrote to Boris Johnson appealing for an industry-wide bailout of up to £7.5bn.
Virgin Atlantic subsequently submitted an unsuccessful request for £500m from the Government.
The rescue, which includes a £170m loan from hedge fund Davidson Kempner, draws a line under months of uncertainty over the airline’s future after many market watchers predicted it was doomed.
Sir Richard and minority shareholder Delta, the US airline, are to provide £600m of support. Some £200m will come from Virgin Group with a deferral of around £400m in shareholder payments.
Mr Weiss added: “The completion of the private-only, solvent recapitalisation of Virgin Atlantic removes much of the uncertainty we faced and represents a major step forward in our fight for survival.”
Pilots lamented the prospect of more job cuts.
Brian Strutton, general secretary of union Balpa, said: “Hardly a day now goes by without more tough news from the aviation industry. This announcement from Virgin is the latest.
“Despite no help from Government, their financing is now secure. I am confident that Virgin Atlantic will get through this coronavirus crisis and will emerge in a strong position.”