Gatwick is planning to take a major step by cutting 600 jobs as airports and airlines are suffering due to the pandemic.
The airport will formally consult the impacted employees regarding the job cuts. However, it is approximately 24% of the current number of staff.
Gatwick is the UK’s second-largest airport. This decision comes in order to reduce operating and staff costs as customer numbers are low. And this virus crisis is affecting the aviation industry drastically.
The Pandemic Effect
The demand for air travel is low because of lockdowns, travel restrictions, quarantine concerns, and worries about Covid-19.
However, August, which is the busiest month for air travel, saw passenger numbers down by 80%. When compared with the numbers of passengers Gatwick saw that month in 2019.
Right now Gatwick is operating from just its North Terminal as passenger numbers are currently low. As compared to the same time last year, the airport is operating at around 20% of its capacity. And therefore it still has over three-quarters of its staff on the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme. And this scheme will be ending in October.
The company said it took rapid action to protect the airport back in March when the lockdown started. However, it preserved as many jobs as it could by reducing costs, managing cash outflows. And securing a £300 million bank loan.
Gatwick Airport’s chief executive Stewart Wingate today 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 the Government to see what sector-specific support can be put in place for the industry at this time. Alongside mechanisms that 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.”
In addition, he said, “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.”
He said the airport will recover from the pandemic and the company will “emerge from the restructuring we are proposing a fitter and stronger organization which is best placed to offer our passengers and our airlines a modern and innovative airport, ready for growth”.