Gatwick Airport to cut nearly a quarter of its workforce

 Gatwick Airport this afternoon announced that it could cut up to 600 jobs as part of a major restructuring caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The airport is the latest company in the struggling aviation sector to announce such cuts, which account for 24 per cent of its workforce.

The sector is one of the worst-hit by the pandemic, which has caused a near-total collapse in global air travel.

In August, usually a busy month for air travel, passenger numbers at Gatwick are over 80 per cent down when compared with the number of passengers in the same month last year.

Chief executive Stewart Wingate said the cuts were a “stark reminder” of the “devastating impact” of the pandemic on the sector.

“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”, he said. 

“We are in ongoing talks with the 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.” 

Back in March, as the virus began to shut down international travel networks, Gatwick secured a £300m loan to bolster its financial position.

However, most anticipating that demand for air travel will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, the airport has now been forced to begin talks over redundancies.

Over the course of the lockdown period, carrier Virgin Atlantic announced that it would quit its base at the airport as a result of the downturn.

At the moment, the airport has 75 percent of its staff on the government’s job retention scheme, which is due to end in October.

As a result of the virus, UK airlines and airports have announced around a combined 30,000 job cuts so far.

Flag carrier British Airways leads the way with plans to slash 12,000 jobs, a quarter of its staff, while Ryanair, Easyjet, and Virgin have committed to 11,000 cuts between them.

In addition, the UK’s largest airport Heathrow has said that a third of its 7,000 frontline roles are at risk due to the pandemic.

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