Coronavirus: Gatwick Airport announces job cuts and runway closure

Tom McArthur
·Page editor
·2-min read
Travellers wearing face masks arrive at Gatwick Airport in Sussex. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 3, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire (Photo by Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images)
Travellers wearing face masks arrive at Gatwick Airport in Sussex. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Gatwick Airport will cut jobs and close runways as part of “divisive action” to slash costs amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shattered the air travel industry worldwide.

The airport said it has sacked 200 staff, including contractors and workers on fixed-term contracts.

Its runway will be suspended between midnight and 5.30am local time with immediate effect, except for emergency landings.

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Two of its six ‘piers’ — which connect terminals with aircraft — will be closed.

The airport in West Sussex has deferred spending on its investment programme for the foreseeable future.

Chief executive Stewart Wingate and his senior leadership team will take a 20% salary cut and waive any bonus for the current financial year.

He 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.

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"We must all play our part in helping the airport recover and both myself and our executive board will take a significant pay cut to help reduce costs.

"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.

"We also strongly urge the Government to provide support in order to protect the business and the contribution it makes to the region and wider economy."

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Airlines worldwide have cancelled thousands of flights and announced plans to ground the majority of their aircraft due to travel restrictions and the dramatic drop in demand for flights.