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Aviation crisis

Edinburgh Airport ‘planning to axe 248 jobs’ says Unite

Edinburgh airport Easyjet

Flights are being grounded

Edinburgh Airport is planning to axe 248 jobs because of the crisis facing the civil aviation sector, says the Unite union.

A combination of Flybe falling into administration and the COVID-19 pandemic has been blamed for the cutbacks which will also see pay for all workers cut by 20% over the next eight months.

The moves follow similarly drastic action taken at other airports, including Gatwick and Heathrow, as passenger traffic as collapsed. Edinburgh said yesterday it expected “zero or close to zero” passengers in the coming weeks.

Unite, which represents the overwhelming majority of the 770 workers at Edinburgh, said its owner Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) has warned that all airport workers’ positions are under review.

The latest setback for Edinburgh Airport follows the news that up to 300 Swissport and Menzies Aviation jobs are at risk through temporary lay-off and redundancy.  All major airlines including Ryanair and Easyjet who all fly routes from Edinburgh Airport have all confirmed significant schedule reductions starting from next week. 

The proposals, if implemented, would be a catastrophe

– Sandy Smart

Unite has been warning the Scottish and UK Governments that Edinburgh Airport and other airports across Scotland could be on the brink of collapse without support and stabilising measures from the both governments. Unite has brought forward a four-point plan that it wants government ministers to implement:

– The government to make contributions to cover workers’ pay to ensure that the UK’s aviation infrastructure remains intact, and the consideration of taking a commensurate financial stake in airlines and airports to help ensure their survival.

–  The extension of loans to airlines and airports and other aviation companies to enable them to ease the pressure of the immediate pay back of loans and to assist in the retention of staff and the preservation of routes.

– A delay in the payment of taxes and duties that airlines are obliged to pay including a temporary suspension or reduction in Air Passenger Duty (APD)

– Government to support routes through subsidies under public service obligation rules, which are tied to long-term environmental commitments as part of an integrated sustainable transport network.

Sandy Smart, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The proposals, if implemented, would be a catastrophe and we believe are totally unnecessary in light of the UK Government bringing forward proposals to support workers and industry.

“We call on the management at Edinburgh Airport to call-off these proposals. Unite fully recognises the crisis facing the civil aviation industry but we repeat our call to refrain from announcing wholesale redundancies. Scottish airports must remain open and the workforce must be supported through this crisis.”

Caledonian Sleeper cuts back

Caledonian Sleeper is introducing a special timetable from Sunday 22 March due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

Under the temporary timetable, the overnight rail operator will run an eight-carriage train from Glasgow Central and an eight-carriage train from Inverness. The two sections will join up at Edinburgh Waverley before making the journey southbound to London Euston.

Similarly, one 16-carriage train will leave London before splitting at Edinburgh to carry on the journey to Glasgow and Inverness respectively.

Services will not run between Fort William and London or Aberdeen and London while the special timetable is in place.

Caledonian Sleeper’s refund policy is also being amended to reflect the special timetable.

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