Plan to keep open
Edinburgh Airport expects ‘zero’ passengers during crisis
Airport expects no passengers (pic: Terry Murden)
Edinburgh Airport says it is expecting a period of ‘zero or close to zero passengers’ and has put a plan into action to ensure it remains open and operational during the coronavirus outbreak.
It will halt some capital projects and close some areas, while a number of retailers have shut up shop.
Enforced travel bans across the world have resulted in airlines dramatically reducing their schedules to and from Scotland, directly impacting on passenger numbers at the airport.
There was a small drop in passengers in February with 935,455 passengers passing through the airport, which was 0.4% behind February 2019. However, the airport is predicting a period of zero or close to zero passenger demand.
To protect as many jobs possible and ensure the airport is open throughout, the airport will implement a consolidation plan which will also form part of our recovery plan to ensure the airport is ready to return to full operations at the end of the outbreak. This plan includes:
- Terminal consolidation with certain areas closed and the centralisation of operations
- Deferring expenditure on some capital projects
- Powering down high consuming energy items like elements of the baggage system and heating and cooling systems on parts of the airport that are closed
- A number of retailers and food and beverage outlets suspending operations
The announcement follows a statement from sister airport Gatwick which is laying off 200 temporary fixed contract workers. The executive team at Gatwick is taking a 20% cut in salaries.
Gordon Dewar, chief executive at Edinburgh Airport, said: “This is an unprecedented time not only for the aviation industry but for everyone as we all do what we can to ensure the health of ourselves and of those around us.
“For us, that includes the health of our airport. Our plan is based on keeping the airport open throughout and being there for those people who are still travelling and those staff members who are making that travel possible.
“We’re in a situation which is ever changing and as more countries enforce travel bans or special measures then it stands to reason that airlines will feel that impact and airports then feel that pain too.
“Unfortunately, that is happening now and we are trying to mitigate as best as we can and steer the airport through this situation in preparation for what comes next – and that is the biggest unknown in all of this.
Gordon Dewar: ‘unknowns’
“The airport is a facilitator of many things, that is our main role. Yes, we transport people around the world but it’s what those people bring that is the true value – they are our inward and outward tourists, they are our business leaders, they are our students and lecturers, they are our scientists and researchers.
“All of these things are important in the wider Scottish economy and we are doing what we can to ensure we are ready to return towards normal when the time comes.”
The airport has welcomed announcements by the UK and Scottish Governments on financial support for the sector through this situation.
Mr Dewaer added: “We welcome the collaboration there has been with both governments at this critical time but we will need continued support to ensure that the aviation industry is able to play its part in the country’s economic recovery.
“Along with other UK airports, we ask both governments to come together and show unity and support with the industry to help us weather this storm and come out of it still standing and ready to move forward again.”