Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has revealed it expects to cut 900 jobs from across its three UK airports as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Passenger numbers through the group’s airports, Manchester Airport, London Stansted and East Midlands Airport, stood at 2.8 million for the peak April to August season in 2020, less 10% of the over 30 million passengers served by the group in the same period last year. A recovery in passenger numbers is not expected by the group until 2023/24.
MAG has announced that 465 jobs are at risk at Manchester Airport, a significant employer for Cheshire residents, as well as 376 jobs in London Stansted and 51 in East Midlands Airport, near Nottingham.
The airport has cited a combination of low passengers numbers and a poor government response to supporting the aviation sector, both through financial support and through virus testing and rapidly changing quarantine rules that have weakened customer confidence in travelling.
The Manchester based group is now in talks with trade unions to consult on redundancies for staff across its three airports at risk of losing their jobs. The airport has made significant use of the furlough scheme, which ends in October, but will struggle to transition to the newly announced Job Support Scheme required employees to work one-third of normal hours. The group has previously received £250 million in support from Greater Manchester’s local authorities, which own just under two-thirds of shares in the business, and has cut pay of senior executives, as well as reducing management headcount.
Charlie Cornish, CEO of MAG, said:
By now, we would have hoped to see a strong and sustained recovery in demand. Unfortunately, the resurgence of the virus across Europe and the reintroduction of travel restrictions have meant this has not happened.
“With uncertainty about when a vaccine will be widely available, we need to be realistic about when demand is likely to recover.
“The end of the Job Retention Scheme means that we have to consider the number of roles that we can sustain at our airports.
“We will be discussing these issues with our trade unions, and consulting them fully on a range of options for reducing the size and overall cost of our workforce. We want to work with them to make sure we minimise the impact on our people as much as we can.
“I want to thank everyone across MAG for the dedication they have shown through the toughest summer our industry has ever seen.
“MAG and other UK airports remain fundamentally strong businesses that will play an important role in driving the country’s recovery, but the specific and short term pressures of the pandemic are exceptional and particularly challenging for our sector.
“We are proud of our long-standing role in supporting communities around our airports and underpinning the employment of more than 130,000 people across the UK.
“We will continue to work to protect as many jobs as possible, maintain dialogue with our trade unions, and continue to make the case to government for the direct support that UK aviation needs.”