Thursday 11 June 2020 8:12 am

Heathrow Airport to begin job cuts as passenger numbers flatline

Heathrow Airport announced this morning that it would begin to cut frontline jobs after the government’s 14-day quarantine measures meant traffic numbers were no longer sustainable.

In May, passenger numbers were at an all time low of 228,000, down 97 per cent from last year.

Read more: Exclusive: Heathrow warns of 25,000 job losses amid quarantine travel row

As a result, the airport, which has already cut one-third of managerial roles, said it would have to begin redundancy proceedings across its operations.

The announcement comes after chief executive John Holland-Kaye told City A.M. that he had two weeks to make a decision on potential job cuts. 

Speaking to the City View podcast, Holland-Kaye said that 25,000 jobs could be lost at the airport overall, with a third of Heathrow’s direct workforce of 7,000 at risk.

He added that in the last few months the airport had been handling a mere 5000 to 7000 passengers a day.

Heathrow once again reiterated its calls for the government to drop its blanket quarantine measures and replace them with targeted air bridges.

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Ministers have indicated that the measures are being considered, with the quarantine policy set for its first review on 28 June.

A group of businesses from the travel and hospitality sector have said however that they have been given assurances such air bridges will be in place by the end of the month.

In a statement this morning Holland-Kaye said: “Throughout this crisis, we have tried to protect front line jobs, but this is no longer sustainable, and we have now agreed a voluntary severance scheme with our union partners. 

“While we cannot rule out further job reductions, we will continue to explore options to minimise the number of job losses.”

Read more: UK tourism group says air bridges will be set up by 29 June

Heathrow also threw its weight behind industry calls for a 12-months waiver in business rates for all airports in England and Wales. 

This would match the support already given to Scottish and Northern Irish airports and the UK’s hospitality and leisure sector.