BTN Europe presents an overview of business travel and MICE predictions for this year
Business Travel Show Europe Kick Off, proudly
ExCeL London - 22-23 June 2021
Gatwick airport has announced a “significant” company-wide
restructuring plan that could see around 600 job roles being cut, equating to
around 24 per cent of the airport’s current number of employees.
The London airport said the restructuring is needed to
further reduce operating and staff costs in light of the financial impact of
Covid-19. In August, usually one of the busiest months because of the UK summer
holidays, Gatwick said its passenger numbers were down more than 80 per cent
compared to the same month last year. Flights are still only operating from
Gatwick’s North Terminal at about 20 per cent of its normal capacity, meaning
75 per cent of its staff are still on the UK government’s coronavirus Job
Retention Scheme, which is due to end in October.
Gatwick added that it took action in March to mitigate job
losses by reducing costs, managing cash flows and securing a £300 million bank
loan, resulting in 200 fixed-term contract redundancies, but there is currently no plan for the government to provide any
sector-specific support beyond October.
Gatwick CEO 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.”
Jamie Major, regional officer for the Unite union, commented:
“This is a bitter blow for the workers and once again highlights the chronic
failure of the government to support the aviation sector, despite promises way
back in March that it would do so. Unite will be entering into formal negotiations
with Gatwick airport to ensure that redundancies are minimised and that all
redundancy procedures are fair and fully transparent.”
The announcement follows the news that British Airways will
make hundreds of job cuts at the airport, while Virgin Atlantic is planning to temporarily
cease flying from Gatwick until passenger demand recovers – though it is hoping
to maintain its take-off and landing slots for that eventuality.
According to the BBC, Peter Lamb council leader of nearby
Crawley, has called on the government to continue the furlough scheme for
specific industries affected by ongoing coronavirus restrictions, including the
travel industry, with thousands of job losses having already been announced at companies
operating from and around the airport.
Travel company leaders have continued their calls for the
government to consider an alternative to the current quarantine rules for
certain countries after late-notice restrictions dampened consumer confidence
and contributed to a slower-than-expected recovery during the key summer
The government said it has already provided the aerospace
and aviation sectors with more than £8.5 billion in grants, loans and export
guarantees and said anyone affected by job losses is eligible to claim
Universal Credit and Jobseekers Allowance, according to the BBC.