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More than 4,500 jobs to go at Swissport

Written by: Emma Lunn
Unions have called on the Government to do more to save the aviation industry after Swissport announced job cuts.

Airport service firm Swissport will cut more than half of its UK workforce as airports struggle with severely reduced traffic during coronavirus.

The firm provides ground services such as baggage handling, ticketing, de-icing and refuelling planes, and check-in staff at airports across the UK.

Air travel collapsed after governments around the world imposed travel restrictions during coronavirus lockdowns.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently advising against all but essential travel.

Swissport has said its revenue is forecast to be almost 50% lower than last year due to the crisis. Chief executive Jason Holt said the company had to reduce the size of its workforce to survive and that the travel industry was “facing a long period of uncertainty”.

GMB and Unite, the two unions representing Swissport workers, described the company’s decision to cut 4,556 jobs as “devastating news”.

The unions have renewed calls for a bespoke financial package from the UK Government to support the aviation industry and save thousands of jobs as the economy continues to reopen.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, says: “This is devastating news. 4,556 workers – and possibly many more – will lose jobs which are essential to regional economies. With Swissport now considering job cuts on this scale we have deep concerns about the viability of many of our regional airports and the benefits for regional connectivity that they bring.”

Oliver Richardson, Unite national officer, says: “We can’t wait any longer, the UK government needs to urgently intervene with a bespoke financial package and an extension of the 80% furlough scheme for the aviation industry.

“Speed is of the essence if the government is to save thousands of aviation jobs and livelihoods. It’s not too late.”

Swissport employs about 8,500 workers at UK airports including Heathrow and Gatwick.

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