Coronavirus: Almost 900 Manchester Airports Group job cuts

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
MAG said there has been a huge reduction in travel at its airports

Almost 900 jobs are at risk at three UK airports after the coronavirus resulted in the "toughest summer ever".

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) said 465 roles were under threat at Manchester Airport as well as 376 at London Stansted Airport and 51 at East Midlands Airport.

It confirmed it would begin talks with unions about the potential job losses.

The Unite union blamed the government's "failure to support to the aviation sector" for the "bitter blow".

A government spokesperson said it would keep the approach to quarantine rules "under constant review".

He added: "We recognise that this will be a very difficult time for Manchester Airport Group employees and their loved ones, and we are continuing to support them."

Image source, Geograph/David Dixon
Image caption,
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said Manchester Airport was "critical" to the region's economy

MAG said there had been a massive reduction in travel at its airports with only 2.8m passengers between April and August compared to 30.3m the previous year.

It said it had already taken steps to reduce costs, including asking employees to take a 10% pay cut for a year, pausing investment and reducing its management team.

However, it said the "absence of support for the aviation sector, coupled with a lack of progress in introducing testing for UK passengers, has continued to undermine consumer confidence in air travel".

It said passenger demand was not expected to recover fully before 2023-24.

'Dramatic cuts'

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, said: "The specific and short-term pressures of the pandemic are exceptional and particularly challenging for our sector.

"The end of the job retention scheme means we have to consider the number of roles that we can sustain at our airports."

He said it would be working closely with unions "to make sure we minimise the impact on our people as much as we can".

He added: "I want to thank everyone across MAG for the dedication they have shown through the toughest summer our industry has ever seen."

Lawrence Chapple-Gill, from Unite, said the "dramatic cuts" would come as a "bitter blow to the hard working staff at Manchester Airport".

The job losses were an "inevitable consequence of the government's failure to provide sector specific support to the aviation industry, the sector most heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic", he said.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said Manchester Airport was "critical" to the region's economy.

The former Labour MP said the government had left the aviation industry "swinging in the wind" and called on it to provide the sector with financial help.

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