Gatwick Airport plans to cut 600 jobs, or about a quarter of its workforce, as it strives to cut costs in the face of the pandemic’s continuing impact on international travel.
The airport is starting a consultation process with relevant employees from all areas of the company, as part of a larger restructuring plan.
Passengers were 80% lower at Britain’s second-largest airline hub in August compared to a year earlier, in what would normally be one of the busiest months of the year.
Flights are only operated from one of its two terminals, due to what the airport has called the “devastating impact” of Covid-19 on the aviation and travel industry.
Three-quarters of its staff remain on leave, but support for employers through the government’s coronavirus job retention program is expected to end in October.
The company said it is planning an organizational restructuring that will allow it to respond quickly when travel demand returns in the future.
Stewart Wingate, managing director of Gatwick Airport, said he would try to save as many jobs as possible.
“If anyone has any doubts about the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the aviation and travel industry, today’s news that we have shared with our staff, regarding the jobs on offer, are a stark recall, ”Wingate said.
“We are currently in talks with the government to see what sector specific support can be put in place for the industry right now, as well as mechanisms that will give our passengers greater certainty as to where and how when they can travel safely abroad. This support will not only help Gatwick, but the wider regional economy which depends on the airport.
Gatwick said he took swift action to preserve jobs and protect the airport in March as international travel was cut short, cutting costs, managing expenses and securing a £ 300million bank loan sterling.
But it lost one of its major airlines in May when Virgin Atlantic announced it would stop flying from the airport, while British Airways dramatically cut operations at Gatwick, including laying off hundreds of employees. based at the airport.
The Unite union has accused British Airways of disproportionately affecting its Gatwick-based Black, Asian and Minority (BAME) staff through its layoff program.
Unite found that 41% of flight attendants who identified as white had been fired or demoted, compared to 61% of BAME workers in those roles who responded to the survey.
Additionally, he found that BA no longer had black customer service managers on board at Gatwick, after several staff were made redundant and one demoted.
British Airways said its restructuring had been a “difficult and painful process” and that it remained committed to improving diversity.
“Our selection criteria are fair and non-discriminatory, focused on performance, attendance and skills,” BA said in a statement. “We have fully consulted Unite on these criteria. Ethnicity was not a factor in our selection process as this would be both discriminatory against other groups and illegal. “