Gatwick cuts 600 jobs after 80% drop in passenger numbers

Gatwick Airport to cut 24% of its workforce as Covid-19 forces it to run at just 20% capacity.

Gatwick Airport has announced 600 job cuts after an 80% fall in passenger numbers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The proposed job cuts come as part of the UK's second largest airport’s plans for a significant restructure across its business, designed to further reduce operating and staff costs in light of the dramatic impact Covid-19 has had on its passenger and air traffic numbers. 

The new proposals could result in around 600 job roles being removed from across the business, approximately 24% of the current number of employees. The company will now enter into a formal consultation process with employees.

Compared to last year, the airport is operating at around 20% of its capacity and still has over 75% of its staff on the UK government’s Job Retention Scheme, which is due to end in October. Current traffic and passenger volumes are such that Gatwick is currently operating from only its north terminal. 

In August, usually one of the airport’s busiest months, passenger numbers are over 80% down compared with the numbers of passengers Gatwick saw that month in 2019. The company took rapid action to protect the airport back in March to preserve as many jobs as it could by reducing costs, managing cash outflows, and securing a £300m bank loan.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport chief executive officer, 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. 

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff, those 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 a fitter and stronger organisation which is best placed to offer our passengers and our airlines a modern and innovative airport, ready for growth.”

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