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Gatwick has announced plans for a significant restructuring across its business in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and the associated fall in passenger numbers.
An airport statement said the move will further reduce operating and staff costs as it prepares for the future. It added that its new proposals could result in around 600 job roles being lost across the business, which amounts to approximately 24% of the current workforce. It is now entering into a formal consultation process with its employees.
The statement said the company had moved quickly in March to protect as many jobs as it could by reducing costs, managing cash outflows and securing a £300m bank loan. However, it went on to explain that current traffic and passenger volumes are so low that Gatwick is currently using only its North Terminal.
It said that in August, usually one of the airport’s busiest months, passenger numbers were more than 80% down compared with the same month last year. The airport is operating at around 20% of its capacity compared to 2019 and, therefore, still has over 75% of its staff on the UK government’s Job Retention Scheme, which is due to end in October.
Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: “If anyone is in any doubt about the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on the aviation and travel industry then the news we have shared with our staff regarding the proposed job losses,is a stark reminder.
“We are in talks with the UK government on possible sectorspecific support
Stewart Wingate CEO
“We are in ongoing talks with the government to see what sectorspecific 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 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 as a fitter and stronger organisation which is best placed to offer our passengers and our airlines a modern and innovative airport, ready for growth.”