Virgin America back to previous staff levels as crew return from voluntary leave

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Nearly all Virgin America employees who took voluntary leave in recent months have returned to the Burlingame, California-based carrier, Virgin America chief executive David Cush tells Flightglobal.

Cush says 87 inflight crew accepted one, two or three months of voluntary leave as part of the airline's move in 2012 to curtail capacity following years of rapid growth.

All but two of those employees had returned to the airline by April; the two that did not return left the company for other opportunities, Cush says.

Virgin America announced last year it would offer voluntary leave as part of capacity cuts designed to tailor the airline's schedule to demand from business travellers.

Virgin America's available seat miles in the first quarter of 2013 were down 4.2% compared to the same period last year.

The capacity cuts were achieved by eliminating some less popular flights, including overnight cross-country routes and weak seasonal flights, Cush says.