Gatwick plans to cut about 600 jobs due to the collapse in demand for air travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the UK’s second busiest airport has announced.
This represents nearly a quarter of its workforce and comes as August passenger numbers are down 80% compared with 2019.
The West Sussex airport said it is planning a “significant restructure across its business” aimed at reducing costs and ensuring it is “best placed to respond quickly to future growth”.
Gatwick will recover from this pandemicGatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate
Chief executive Stewart Wingate 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.
“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.”
The airport said it took “rapid action” in March to “preserve as many jobs as it could”, which included securing a £300 million bank loan.
Meanwhile, the UK economy is set to lose £22 billion in tourism revenue this year due to the fall in international travel, according to industry body the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The organisation warned that international visitor spending could drop by 78% year-on-year and nearly three million UK jobs supported by travel and tourism are “at risk of being lost in a worst-case scenario”.
WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara said: “The economic pain and suffering caused to millions of households across the UK, who are dependent upon travel and tourism for their livelihoods, is evident from the latest WTTC figures.
“The lack of international travel caused by the pandemic could wipe out more than £22 billion from the UK economy alone – a loss of £60 million a day – from which it could take years to recover.
“It could also threaten London’s position as one of the world’s premier hubs for business and leisure travel which could see other destinations take over.”