Blow for jobs
Edinburgh Airport axes third of workforce
Passenger numbers have slumped (pic: Terry Murden)
Edinburgh Airport is cutting a third of its workforce – 250 staff – as it struggles with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All areas of the business including frontline staff, management and support functions will be affected.
A consultancy period will begin today, with effected staff to leave the business on 31 October.
The airport said that continued uncertainty around the recovery of the sector and the closure of the furlough scheme had led to today’s decision.
Gordon Dewar, chief executive, said: “This is a bitterly sad day for the airport and for those colleagues who are losing their jobs through no fault of their own but due to the impact of this dreadful pandemic.
“We have worked with unions and staff over the past four months to protect as many jobs as possible, but unfortunately we have to confirm this regrettable news as the business prepares for whatever comes next.
“Last year we welcomed a record 14.7 million people through our doors. This year we will be lucky to see a third of that and next year won’t be anywhere near where we have previously estimated so the business has to right size to be in a position to survive and recover when it can.”
The airport has used the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme but the immiment closure of the scheme and uncertain recovery of aviation means jobs will still be lost.
Mr Dewar added: “The furlough scheme has undoubtedly helped us to retain jobs and we are grateful for the UK Government’s support, as well as that of the Scottish Government through things like rates relief.
“Despite this, we continued to burn around £3.5 million a month as passenger numbers dropped dramatically and airlines drastically scaled back operations. It will be a very long road to recovery, and we cannot successfully make that journey while we are set up as a 15 million passenger airport.
“Aviation was one of the industries to be hit first and unfortunately will be one of the last to fully recover, so job losses have been unavoidable.
“The situation has been exacerbated by the introduction of an ill-thought out and unworkable blanket quarantine policy which has massively impacted on passenger numbers.
“Aviation jobs rely on passengers and flights. That has been lost in this argument and despite us working with unions to make the case for directed support, we are still waiting to find out what will be done to preserve these jobs which are crucial to any industry and economic recovery.
“Throughout the consultation we have striven to be fair, compassionate and seek an outcome that protects as many people as possible.
“We bitterly regret this necessity and all of our talented colleagues departing the business leave with our very best wishes. They are an incredibly talented workforce who have served Edinburgh Airport fantastically well and we will do what we can to help them find other employment. We are sorry to see them go.”