Wednesday, 3 Jun 2020

Gatwick Airport cuts staff, closes gates and suspends investment

Gatwick Airport has unveiled a series of steps designed to safeguard the “financial resilience” of the business in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The plans will significantly reduce costs.

The spread of Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the global aviation industry with airlines at Gatwick – including easyJet, British Airways, Norwegian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and TUI – reporting reduced levels of traffic.

There have also been substantial cuts in planned capacity over the next two months.

In response, Gatwick will close to flights between midnight and 05:30 from Tuesday – except for emergency landings – and close two of its six piers.

In terms of capital expenditure, the airport is deferring spending on its investment programme for the foreseeable future.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick chief executive, and his executive team will take a 20 per cent salary cut and waive any bonuses for the current financial year.

Gatwick has also terminated the employment of 200 staff employed on temporary fixed-term contracts and contractors.

Wingate said: “Gatwick is a resilient business, but the world has changed dramatically in recent weeks and we have been forced to take rapid, decisive action to ensure that the airport is in a strong position to recover from a significant fall in passenger numbers.

“We also very much regret having to make this difficult decision to reduce our staff numbers and I would like to thank everyone for the contribution they made to the business.

“Significantly reduced passenger numbers are likely to be sustained, at least in the short- to medium-term, and I need to prepare people for the news that other serious measures are likely.”

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