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Heathrow boss warns of 25,000 job losses as 14-day quarantine system introduced

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said he would have to make the decision ‘within the next couple of weeks’.

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Passengers Guy Potter and Sarah Hartstein arrive at Terminal 2 at Heathrow (Steve Parsons/PA)

Passengers Guy Potter and Sarah Hartstein arrive at Terminal 2 at Heathrow (Steve Parsons/PA)

Passengers Guy Potter and Sarah Hartstein arrive at Terminal 2 at Heathrow (Steve Parsons/PA)

About 25,000 jobs could be at risk at Heathrow Airport, its chief executive has warned, as new quarantine measures for international arrivals come into force.

Passengers arriving in the UK from Monday will need to self-isolate for 14 days under the latest Government measure to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

There has been widespread concern that this will cause huge damage to the travel and aviation sectors as they recover from pandemic.

What we've heard already from the airlines is that they are cutting around a third of all employees.John Holland-Kaye

Speaking to the City AM podcast, The City View, Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said he was now having to consider job cuts at the west London airport.

“76,000 people are employed at Heathrow,” he said.

“That represents one-in-four households in the local community, so if we start cutting jobs on mass that has a devastating impact on local communities, including the Prime Minister’s own constituency, which is only a few miles from the airport.

“What we’ve heard already from the airlines is that they are cutting around a third of all employees, so that would be 25,000 people out of work.

“That would be a devastating blow to west London and the Thames Valley.”

Asked if he would also have to consider the future of a third of his workforce, Mr Holland-Kaye replied: “That’s exactly the right kind of number.

“And I don’t want to see that happen. But we’ll have to make that decision, within the next couple of weeks.”

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People come into the arrivals lounge in Terminal 2 at Heathrow (Steve Parsons/PA)

People come into the arrivals lounge in Terminal 2 at Heathrow (Steve Parsons/PA)

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People come into the arrivals lounge in Terminal 2 at Heathrow (Steve Parsons/PA)

Mr Holland-Kaye said airport passenger numbers for most of April, May and June were between 5,000 to 7,000 each day.

He said: “With the quarantine coming into today, we would expect that to continue until the quarantine is lifted. ”

In 2018, an average of 219,458 people were passing through Heathrow each day.

Speaking about the new quarantine measures, he said: “We have to assume the worst, and all businesses in aviation are suffering, very badly.

“I heard one airport talk about it being days and not weeks before they face bankruptcy. That’s how bad things have got.

“Airlines are not making jobs, making redundancies and cutting pay because they want to, it’s because they’re in a survival mode.”

Mr Holland-Kaye said the industry needs the Government to move quickly and in a “co-ordinated” way to reopen the aviation sector.

He added: “But at the moment we’re being held back. And if we aren’t able to get people flying again, that really is going to delay the recovery of the rest of the economy.”

PA