Friday 27 March 2020 8:39 am

Menzies puts majority of 17,500 staff on wage bailout scheme

John Menzies has been forced to reduce its global workforce by 17,500 jobs as it tries to stay afloat amid the fallout caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

In a trading update released this morning, the aviation services firm said it had seen “significant ongoing reductions in activity for our core operations”.

It said that the number of flights handled over the past two weeks had reduced by around 60 per cent.

As a result, the board has “determined that it is not possible to provide financial guidance for the remainder of the current financial year.”

As part of John Menzies’ cost reduction initiatives it has now reduced its workforce by little more than 17,500 people around the world, but said the “vast majority” would qualify for government schemes.

The firm said it hoped “a high number of these employees can return to the business.”

Although there were also an unspecified number of redundancies within the figure.

The Group added that it was “taking mitigating action wherever we can” and were having conversations with lenders to review all options regarding the firm’s overall liquidity.

Giles Wilson, Chief Executive said: “John Menzies plc has existed since 1833 and been listed since 1962 but never have we faced such difficult and unpredictable times. Our industry has been one of the most affected by COVID-19 and we are doing everything we can to reduce costs whilst looking after the needs of our employees.” 

“I now look to our Government to support our business and for them to provide the support required to help the UK aviation sector to navigate this crisis.  For the aviation supply chain to function it requires a strong inter-reliant chain of airlines, airports and service providers.

“Without these three components of the supply chain, working together, the sector will not function. Handlers such as Menzies are therefore essential to the recovery and future success of the UK and global aviation industry.”

Josh Menzies’ share price was down by six per cent as trading opened this morning in wake of the news.