Gatwick Airport is planning to axe up to 600 jobs in ‘significant restructure’ after impact of Covid-19 pandemic on passenger and air traffic numbers
- Gatwick Airport has announced a ‘significant restructure across its business’
- Up to 600 jobs could be cut, which amounts to around a quarter of workforce
- Passenger numbers fell by 80 per cent in the normally busy month of August
Gatwick Airport is planning to axe up to 600 jobs in a ‘signifcant restructure’ after feeling the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on passenger and air traffic numbers.
The airport is operating at around 20 per cent of its capacity and has around 75 per cent of its staff on furlough.
Consultations have begun with staff over redundancies, as it prepares to cut up to 24 per cent of its workforce.
In March the airport, which is only operating its North Terminal, secured a £300million loan to secure it after flights were grounded by Covid-19.
Quarantine measures from tourist hotspots have damaged hopes of a summer of recovery for the airline industry, with redundancies reported at airlines including Ryanair, BA, Virgin and Jet2.
Gatwick Airport is set to make up to 600 people redundancy after struggling to cope financially during the Covid-19 pandemic
In a statement the airport said it was restructuring to ‘further reduce operating and staff costs in light of the dramatic impact COVID-19 has had on its passenger and air traffic numbers’.
Gatwick Airport, Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said: ‘If anyone is in any doubt about the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the aviation and travel industry then today’s news we have shared with our staff, regarding the proposed job losses, is a stark reminder.
‘We are in ongoing talks with Government to see what sector specific support can be put in place for the industry at this time, alongside mechanisms which will give our passengers greater certainty on where and when they can safely travel abroad.
‘This support will not only help Gatwick but the wider regional economy which relies on the airport.
‘I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff, those who have worked tirelessly to keep Gatwick open throughout the pandemic and those who have had to remain on furlough, for their dedicated tenacity, professionalism and team spirit. We will continue to do all we can to preserve as many jobs as possible.
‘Gatwick will recover from this pandemic and we will emerge from the restructuring we are proposing a fitter and stronger organisation which is best placed to offer our passengers and our airlines a modern and innovative airport, ready for growth.’
British Airways, which grounded its Gatwick fleet in March following the outbreak of Covid-19, had said that all short-haul flights from Gatwick will be consolidated into Heathrow until at least September.
It comes after Airbus, Europe’s biggest aircraft maker, announced plans to slash nearly 15,000 jobs across its global operations – including 1,700 in the UK.
Meanwhile EasyJet said 4,500 jobs were at risk and Ryanair threatened to cut 3,500 jobs if pilots and cabin crew don’t agree to pay cuts last month.
Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline, said it had already cut 250 office staff around the continent.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, said the aviation industry had suffered the ‘worst downturn we have ever had in our 100-year industry.’
He told Good Morning Britain: ‘After 9/11, the last great shock to the airline industry, flights were grounded for four days.
‘So far with this pandemic we’ve been grounded for almost four months across the UK and Europe, so this is historic.
How coronavirus has affected UK airlines and travel operators
Flybe: Europe’s largest regional airline collapsed on March 5 after months on the brink, triggering 2,400 job losses and left around 15,000 passengers stranded across the UK and Europe.
British Airways: The International Airlines Group, which also includes Iberia and Aer Lingus, said on March 16 that there would be a 75 per cent reduction in passenger capacity for two months, with boss Willie Walsh admitting there was ‘no guarantee that many European airlines would survive’. The company has since said it wants to reduce the number of staff by 12,000.
Loganair: The Scottish regional airline said on March 30 that it expects to ask the Government for a bailout to cope with the impact of the pandemic.
Jet2: The airline has suspended all of its flights departing from Britain until April 30. A number of Jet2 flights turned around mid-air last month while travelling to Spain when a lockdown was announced in the country.
Virgin Atlantic: The airline said on March 16 that it would have reduced its lights by 80 per cent by March 26, and this will go up to 85 per cent by April. It has also urged the Government to offer carriers emergency credit facilities worth up to £7.5billion.
Ryanair: More than 90 per cent of the Irish-based airline’s planes are now grounded, with the rest of the aircraft providing repatriation and rescue flights. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said his airline would be forced to shed 3,000 jobs while seeking pay reductions of up to 20 per cent by those who remain.
TUI: Holiday giant Tui is looking to cut up to 8,000 roles worldwide with the firm calling Covid-19 the ‘greatest crisis’ the industry has faced.
The UK’s biggest tour operator posted losses of 845.8 million euro (£747m) in the first half of 2020, compared to 289.1 million (£255m) in the same period 12 months previously.