Gatwick Airport has today revealed the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business, as its passenger numbers fell by 14.7 million. As a result, the airport has announced 600 job cuts following annual losses of £343.9m.
Like many airports across the world, the West Sussex-based airport has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. The 66% drop in travellers for the first half of 2020 has led to Virgin Atlantic announcing that it will be ceasing operations at Gatwick.
British Airways has also moved its short-haul flights to Heathrow.
The airport is running at about 20% its usual capacity for August, with only the North Terminal open.
Gatwick’s pre-tax losses in the first half of the year hit £343.9m – last year the airport announced £59.4m profit in the same time period.
Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “Like any other international airport, the negative impact of Covid-19 on our passenger numbers and air traffic at the start of the year was dramatic and, although there are small signs of recovery, it is a trend we expect to continue to see. The recovery period to pre-pandemic traffic levels is forecast to be four to five years.”
Regional Manager of the union Unite, Jamie Major, 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.”