Monday 16 March 2020 4:19 pm

Heathrow boss to forego salary as coronavirus hammers airlines

Senior executives at Heathrow Airport including boss John Holland-Kaye will take pay cuts over the next few months as the UK’s busiest airport tries to limit the damage done by the coronavirus outbreak.

Sky News first reported that Holland-Kaye would forego his salary until June, making him the latest of a number of airline and aviation bosses to agree to pay cuts in light of the travel chaos.

Read more: Virgin Atlantic calls on government for £7.5bn airline bailout package

A Heathrow spokesman confirmed the move to City A.M., and also added that members of the senior executive team would also take a month’s pay cut.

Earlier this month the airport revealed that it had suffered a five per cent decline in passenger traffic in February, warning that it expected this to get steeper as the months go on.

Since those figures were released more and more airlines have been forced to cancel vast swathes of flights in response to the combination of plummeting demand and travel restrictions.

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Heathrow has also put in place a hiring freeze while the crisis continues, as well as waiving aircraft parking fees which will allow airlines to hold grounded aircraft at Heathrow free of charge.

The moves come on the same day that global airlines implemented dramatic cuts to flight schedules and grounded the vast majority of their fleets in response to the outbreak.

British Airways owner IAG shed a quarter of its share value today, making it the worst hit of the UK airlines. It said that it would reduce capacity by 75 per cent during April and May.

Read more: Business on the brink: Airlines, hospitality and train operators in line for state support

US president Donald Trump’s decision to ban visitors from the 26-country Schengen zone, which was later extended to the UK and Ireland, has hit the airline especially hard.

Budget carrier Easyjet also fell nearly 19 per cent, whilst tour operator Tui dropped 14.3 per cent.

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