Heathrow is set to axe up a QUARTER of its frontline staff

Heathrow is set to axe up a QUARTER of its frontline staff with up to 1,200 roles at risk as airport suffers huge downturn due to on-going Covid crisis

  • Up to 1,200 jobs are at risk as Heathrow enters talks with union bodies over cuts
  • The airport is in talks over its plans to cut pay and change employee benefits 
  • Heathrow says it can ‘guarantee’ jobs for anyone who wants to stay on new terms

London’s Heathrow Airport could axe up to 1,200 jobs, around a quarter of its frontline roles, as a result of a downturn in the industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been claimed this atfternoon.

The airport has informed union officials that it was triggering a 45-day consultation period about the proposed cuts, Sky News said, citing unidentified sources. 

Insiders told Sky that a deal is still possible if unions could agree revised terms but that if an agreement wasn’t reached, approximately one-fifth of Heathrow’s total workforce of about 5,700 people could be put at risk, the insider said. 

Heathrow has seen passenger numbers drop dramatically during the last six months, with July’s traffic reportedly down 95% year-on-year. 

Heathrow is set to axe up a quarter of its frontline staff as the number of passengers travelling through Heathrow Airport last month fell by nearly 7 million compared to July 2019

Just 867,000 people travelling through the west London airport last month, compared with 7.7million in July 2019. 

The airport is hoping to find a deal that would cut employee pay and change benefits.

It said in a statement: ‘Covid-19 has decimated the aviation industry, which has led to an unprecedented drop in passenger numbers at Heathrow, costing the airport over £1 billion since the start of March.

‘Provisional traffic figures for August show passenger numbers remain 82% down on last year and we must urgently adapt to this new reality.

Last month Ryanair slashed flight capacity by a fifth over a drop in the number of passenger bookings, while Easyjet announced it was closing bases in Stansted, Southend and Newcastle, which currently have 670 members of staff

‘Discussions with our unions have taken place over four months and our final offer is informed by feedback we have received from them.

‘But with air travel showing little sign of recovery, these discussions cannot go on indefinitely and we must act now to prevent our situation from worsening.

‘We have now started a period of formal consultation with our unions on our offer, which still guarantees a job at the airport for anyone who wishes to stay with our business.’

The drop in numbers prompted Heathrow’s boss to call on the government to scrap its 14-day quarantine and instead focus on testing travellers from high risk countries last month.

A spokesman for the airport said in a statement: ‘Covid-19 has decimated the aviation industry which has led to an unprecedented drop in passenger numbers at Heathrow, costing the airport over £1 billion since the start of March.

‘Provisional traffic figures for August show passenger numbers remain 82% down on last year and we must urgently adapt to this new reality.

‘Discussions with our Unions have taken place over four months and our final offer is informed by feedback we have received from them.

Yesterday Willie Walsh, the CEO of BA owner International Airlines Group accused the government of causing ‘further chaos and hardship’ for travellers based on ‘arbitrary’ statistics. 

He wrote in The Times: ‘Another U-turn by the Government, adding Portugal to the quarantine list, will cause further chaos and hardship for travellers.

‘The Government is using arbitrary statistics to effectively ban 160 countries and in the process destroying the economy. The Government needs to introduce a testing regime to restore confidence.’  

He added that the ‘ever-shifting list’ of countries requiring two weeks of quarantine means ‘the UK has officially hung up the ‘Closed’ sign’. 

‘But with air travel showing little sign of recovery, these discussions cannot go on indefinitely and we must act now to prevent our situation from worsening.

‘We have now started a period of formal consultation with our Unions on our offer, which still guarantees a job at the airport for anyone who wishes to stay with our business.’

Environment Secretary George Eustice said earlier this week that border controls were always kept under review, but warned that screening on arrival would not remove the risk of the disease being imported into the country.  

It comes a week after Gatwick announced plans to axe up to 600 jobs in a ‘signifcant restructure’ after feeling the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on passenger and air traffic numbers.

The airport is operating at around 20 per cent of its capacity and has around 75 per cent of its staff on furlough.

Consultations have begun with staff over redundancies, as it prepares to cut up to 24 per cent of its workforce.

Passenger numbers across the UK were down 89 per cent last month compared to last July.

The number of passengers flying into UK airports surged to 1.3million people in July – compared to just 200,000 arriving in each month during April, May and June.

But figures from 12 months ago showed around 11.1million people flew into the UK’s airports.

Pilots, cabin crew and other airline workers have all been struck with redundancies after the Covid-19 pandemic grounded the majority of flights six months ago. 

Hopes that the summer would bring more passengers have been dashed by changing quarantine measures at some of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.

Yesterday Willie Walsh, the CEO of BA owner International Airlines Group accused the government of causing ‘further chaos and hardship’ for travellers based on ‘arbitrary’ statistics. 

British Airways CEO Willie Walsh has accused the government of causing ‘further chaos,’ amid claims Portugal is about to go back on the UK’s quarantine list

He wrote in The Times: ‘Another U-turn by the Government, adding Portugal to the quarantine list, will cause further chaos and hardship for travellers.

‘The Government is using arbitrary statistics to effectively ban 160 countries and in the process destroying the economy. The Government needs to introduce a testing regime to restore confidence.’  

He added that the ‘ever-shifting list’ of countries requiring two weeks of quarantine means ‘the UK has officially hung up the ‘Closed’ sign’. 

Countries on official quarantine list  

Spain

France

Croatia

Malta

UAE

Jamaica

Switzerland

Belgium

Czech Republic

Austria

Netherlands

Bulgaria

Canada

Singapore 

British Airways, which grounded its Gatwick fleet in March following the outbreak of Covid-19, had said that all short-haul flights from Gatwick will be consolidated into Heathrow until at least September. 

BA itself announced it would be forced to cut hundreds of jobs at Gatwick in a bid to stay afloat during the fallout of the coronavirus. 

Last month budget airline easyJet annouced it was closing its bases in Stansted, Southend and Newcastle in a cost-cutting drive – as Ryanair reduced its flight capacity by a fifth. 

Jet2 also announced it was making 102 pilots redundant. 

Engineering companies supplying the aviation industry and have also been hit hard in recent months. 

Airbus, Europe’s biggest aircraft maker, last week announced plans to slash nearly 15,000 jobs across its global operations – including 1,700 in the UK.

Last week Rolls Royce reported a £5.4billion loss in the first half of 2020 as its CEO announced it had halved the number of aircraft engines it had built so far this year – after shedding 4,000 jobs. 

Chief executive Warren East said: ‘About 4,000 people so far this year have left the organisation, that’s spread across the whole group, the UK Germany, Singapore, all around the world.

‘It includes about 2,500 voluntary redundancies and early retirements in the UK and we expect to be at about 5,000 by the end of this year.

‘We simply don’t need the scale of manufacturing facilities that we have, what we’re doing is consolidating things to achieve greater efficiency where we do make things.’ 

How more than 187,000 jobs have now been lost or are at risk amid the coronavirus pandemic 

Heathrow and The Co-operative Bank are among the latest employers to cut large numbers of jobs, after the bank said it planned to cut around 350 jobs.

It follows cuts of around 7,000 roles announced by retail giant M&S last week, with mass redundancies also on the horizon at the likes of John Lewis, sushi chain Yo! and clothing store River Island. 

And around 14,000 jobs could be on the brink at struggling department store Debenhams, with plans to liquidate the business being drawn up in case other options for saving the company – such as selling it – fall through. 

Here are the major potential job losses announced since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed on March 23:

Total: 187,719

  • August 25 – Co-operative bank – 350 
  • August 20 – Alexander Dennis – 650 
  • August 18 –  Bombardier – 95
  • August 18 – M&S – 7,000
  • August 17: easyJet: 670 
  • August 17: Jet2: 102 
  • August 16: Debenhams: 14,000 at risk 
  • August 14 – John Lewis – 399 at risk 
  • August 14 – Yo! Sushi – 250
  • August 14 – River Island – 350
  • August 12 – NatWest – 550
  • August 11 – InterContinental Hotels – 650 worldwide
  • August 11 – Debenhams – 2,500
  • August 7 – Evening Standard – 115
  • August 6 – Travelex – 1,300
  • August 6 – Wetherspoons – 110 to 130
  • August 5 – M&Co – 380
  • August 5 – Arsenal FC – 55
  • August 5 – WH Smith – 1,500
  • August 4 – Dixons Carphone – 800
  • August 4 – Pizza Express – 1,100 at risk
  • August 3 – Hays Travel – up to 878
  • August 3 – DW Sports – 1,700 at risk
  • July 31 – Byron – 651
  • July 30 – Pendragon – 1,800
  • July 29 – Waterstones – unknown number of head office roles
  • July 28 – Selfridges – 450
  • July 27 – Oak Furnitureland – 163 at risk
  • July 23 – Dyson – 600 in UK, 300 overseas
  • July 22 – Mears – fewer than 200
  • July 20 – Marks & Spencer – 950 at risk
  • July 17 – Azzurri Group (owns Zizzi and Ask Italian) – up to 1,200
  • July 16 – Genting – 1,642 at risk
  • July 16 – Burberry – 150 in UK, 350 overseas
  • July 15 – Banks Mining – 250 at risk
  • July 15 – Buzz Bingo – 573 at risk
  • July 14 – Vertu – 345
  • July 14 – DFS – up to 200 at risk
  • July 9 – General Electric – 369
  • July 9 – Eurostar – unknown number
  • July 9 – Boots – 4,000
  • July 9 – John Lewis – 1,300 at risk
  • July 9 – Burger King – 1,600 at risk
  • July 7 – Reach (owns Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers) – 550
  • July 6 – Pret a Manger – 1,000 at risk
  • July 2 – Casual Dining Group (owns Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge) – 1,909
  • July 1 – SSP (owns Upper Crust) – 5,000 at risk
  • July 1 – Arcadia (owns TopShop) – 500
  • July 1 – Harrods – 700
  • July 1 – Virgin Money – 300
  • June 30 – Airbus – 1,700
  • June 30 – TM Lewin – 600
  • June 30 – Smiths Group – ‘some job losses’
  • June 25 – Royal Mail – 2,000
  • June 24 – Jet2 – 102
  • June 24 – Swissport – 4,556
  • June 24 – Crest Nicholson – 130
  • June 23 – Shoe Zone – unknown number of jobs in head office
  • June 19 – Aer Lingus – 500
  • June 17 – HSBC – unknown number of jobs in UK, 35,000 worldwide
  • June 15 – Jaguar Land Rover – 1,100
  • June 15 – Travis Perkins – 2,500
  • June 12 – Le Pain Quotidien – 200
  • June 11 – Heathrow – at least 500
  • June 11 – Bombardier – 600
  • June 11 – Johnson Matthey – 2,500
  • June 11 – Centrica – 5,000
  • June 10 – Quiz – 93
  • June 10 – The Restaurant Group (owns Frankie and Benny’s) – 3,000
  • June 10 – Monsoon Accessorise – 545
  • June 10 – Everest Windows – 188
  • June 8 – BP – 10,000 worldwide
  • June 8 – Mulberry – 375
  • June 5 – Victoria’s Secret – 800 at risk
  • June 5 – Bentley – 1,000
  • June 4 – Aston Martin – 500
  • June 4 – Lookers – 1,500
  • May 29 – Belfast International Airport – 45
  • May 28 – Debenhams (in second announcement) – ‘hundreds’ of jobs
  • May 28 – EasyJet – 4,500 worldwide
  • May 26 – McLaren – 1,200
  • May 22 – Carluccio’s – 1,000
  • May 21 – Clarks – 900
  • May 20 – Rolls-Royce – 9,000
  • May 20 – Bovis Homes – unknown number
  • May 19 – Ovo Energy – 2,600
  • May 19 – Antler – 164
  • May 15 – JCB – 950 at risk
  • May 13 – Tui – 8,000 worldwide
  • May 12 – Carnival UK (owns P&O Cruises and Cunard) – 450
  • May 11 – P&O Ferries – 1,100 worldwide
  • May 5 – Virgin Atlantic – 3,150
  • May 1 – Ryanair – 3,000 worldwide
  • April 30 – Oasis Warehouse – 1,800
  • April 29 – WPP – unknown number
  • April 28 – British Airways – 12,000
  • April 23 – Safran Seats – 400
  • April 23 – Meggitt – 1,800 worldwide
  • April 21 – Cath Kidston – 900
  • April 17 – Debenhams – 422
  • March 31 – Laura Ashley – 268
  • March 30 – BrightHouse – 2,400 at risk
  • March 27 – Chiquito – 1,500 at risk.

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