Swissport halving its UK workforce

Published by Ross Hindle on June 24th 2020, 11:11am

Following the aviation industry's coronavirus-related difficulties in recent weeks, ground service operator Swissport has announced that it will be looking to cut down its UK workforce by around 50 per cent.

In real terms, this will mean over 4,500 jobs being cut. CEO Jason Holt described the move as a necessary measure to ensure the company was able to survive in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Swissport is headquartered in Switzerland, but its UK division operates at airports across the country, including Gatwick and Heathrow.

The aviation industry suffered tremendously in the weeks following the initial pandemic "burst" at the beginning of the year, and airlines such as British Airways, EasyJet and Flybe have had to restructure in a number of different ways in order to raise funds to ensure their survival.

In a message to his staff team, Mr Holt said: "We must do this to secure the lifeline of funding from lenders and investors to protect as many jobs as possible in the UK and Ireland.

"It's true that we've seen tough times before - the volcanic cloud, 9/11, the financial crisis - and we've weathered these. 

"But this time it's different. 

"We have never seen anything like Covid-19 in our lifetimes.

"We are now facing a long period of uncertainty and reduced flight numbers, along with significant changes taking place to the way people travel and the way goods move around the world.

"There is no escaping the fact that the industry is now smaller than it was, and it will remain so for some time to come."

The GMB union described the news as "devastating".

Union national officer Nadine Houghton said: "With Swissport now considering job cuts on this scale we have deep concerns about the viability of many of our regional airports and the benefits for regional connectivity that they bring."

Similarly, national officer for Unite, Oliver Richardson, said: "We can't wait any longer: the UK government needs to urgently intervene with a bespoke financial package and an extension of the 80% furlough scheme for the aviation industry."

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Ross Hindle
Content Director
June 24th 2020, 11:11am

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