Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh Airport to cut third of its workforce

Edinburgh Airport Image copyright PA Media
Image caption There has been a sharp decline in the number of passengers

Edinburgh Airport is to make about a third of its 750-strong workforce redundant, it has announced.

The airport said the jobs would be lost as part of a restructuring due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The redundancy process will cover  all  areas,  including frontline staff, management and support functions.

Chief executive Gordon Dewar said it was a "bitterly sad" day for the airport and for those losing their jobs "through no fault of their own".

He said: "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."

The airport said there would be both compulsory and voluntary redundancies across the business.

Those affected will start to be notified from Saturday, and will leave their jobs on 31 October.

Mr Dewar said Edinburgh was expecting the number of passengers to fall by at least two-thirds this year, after seeing a record 14.7 million people pass through its doors last year.

He said the business needed to be in "the right size to be in a position to survive and recover when it can".

Image copyright PA Media

Mr Dewar said the UK government's furlough scheme had helped the airport retain jobs.

But despite support from the UK and Scottish governments, it had still been "burning through" about £3.5m a month.

"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," he said.

"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."

'Genuinely worried'

The Unite union expressed its disappointment at the job losses.

Regional officer Sandy Smart said: "The entire civil aviation sector has been impacted by the pandemic and we are genuinely worried about the sector in Scotland once the government support through the Job Retention Scheme is reduced.

"We have been calling on Westminster and Holyrood parliaments to put an aid package together to help Scotland's airports and we will continue to pursue this."

Unite said a Fraser of Allander report, conducted on behalf of the union, had estimated that about 1,500 jobs could be lost in civil aviation in Scotland.

Last month there were warnings of job losses among staff employed at Edinburgh and Glasgow airports by Menzies Aviation.

Unite has also voiced fears that the jobs of 800 Swissport staff at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports are at risk.