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Gatwick Airport to axe up to 600 jobs

Written by: Emma Lunn
The UK’s second largest airport has announced companywide restructuring plans in the wake of Covid-19.

The proposals could result in about 600 jobs being cut across the business, which equates to about 24% of the current number of employees. The company is entering into a formal consultation process with impacted employees.

Gatwick says it is aiming to reduce operating and staff costs in light of the “dramatic impact” the coronavirus pandemic has had on its passenger and air traffic numbers.

The aim of the proposed organisation redesign is to “reshape the company so it is best placed to respond quickly to future growth”.

August is usually one of Gatwick’s busiest months, but passenger numbers are more than 80% down when compared with the numbers of passengers the airport saw in August 2019.

Compared to this time last year, the airport is operating at about 20% of its capacity and still has more than 75% of its staff furloughed.

Current traffic and passenger volumes are such that Gatwick is currently operating from just its North Terminal.

Stewart Wingate, chief executive officer at Gatwick Airport, 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.”

Earlier this week ABTA called on the government to provide more support for the travel industry. The travel association said that 39,000 jobs had already been lost or placed at risk across the outbound travel sector since the crisis started.

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