600 jobs at risk at Gatwick Airport

26 August 2020, 14:20

File photo: 600 jobs are at risk at Gatwick Airport
File photo: 600 jobs are at risk at Gatwick Airport. Picture: PA

By Megan White

600 jobs are at risk at Gatwick Airport – almost a quarter of all employees – after coronavirus had a “dramatic impact” on its passenger and air traffic numbers.

Britain's second biggest airport announced on Wednesday plans for a “significant restructure across its business” to reduce staff and operating costs.

The company will now enter into a formal consultation process with employees.

Passenger numbers were down 80 per cent in August - usually one of the airport’s busiest months.

Flights are still only operating from the North Terminal after passenger numbers plunged.

Compared to this time last year, the airport is operating at around 20 per cent of its capacity.

Over 75 per cent of its staff remain furloughed.

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.”

In June, Heathrow launched a voluntary redundancy scheme and warned it cannot rule out further job cuts as it battles to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

The company, which has around 7,000 directly employed staff, said it had agreed the scheme with unions as it battles to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

The move comes after the airport's chief warned previously that new coronavirus quarantine measures could put 25,000 jobs at risk at the airport.

The company said it had agreed the scheme with unions, which comes just days after it cautioned around 25,000 jobs could be at risk.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: "Throughout this crisis we have tried to protect frontline jobs but this is no longer sustainable, and we have now agreed a voluntary severance scheme with our union partners.

"While we cannot rule out further job reductions, we will continue to explore options to minimise the number of job losses."