Virgin Hyperloop – Richard Branson’s hyperloop subsidiary – has decided to halve its staff as a result of its shift from passenger to cargo operations.
The company, which backed by Virgin Group and ports operator DP World, has recently made 111 members of its staff redundant after getting rid of the firm’s management.
Virgin Hyperloop’s decision comes after the company announced a refocus from passenger to cargo operations, informing employees via video conference, the Financial Times reported.
“It’s allowing the company to respond in a more agile and nimble way and in a more cost-efficient manner,” the company said in a statement. “These types of decisions are never taken lightly. It really has more to do with global supply chain issues and all the changes due to Covid.”
Lead engineer Brian Gummer as well as head of product development Sebastian Vigneron and operations director Erin Kearns were among those who lost their jobs.
Founded in 2016 under the name Hyperloop Technologies, Virgin Hyperloop changed name in 2017 when Sir Richard Branson acquired it, calling it the “world’s most revolutionary train service.”
A concept more than 100 years old, the hyperloop resurfaced in 2013 when Tesla’s chief executive published a white paper on the feasibility of building a new transportation system made of pods that would move through skis levitating over a cushion of air.
After it raised more than $400m from investors, Virging Hyperloop made the headlines in November of 2020, when the first passenger travel was completed safely.