Due to the coronavirus impact on the aviation industry ground handler Swissport are to axe 4,556 jobs, which is more than half of the UKs workforce.
Chief executive Jason Holt said they have to cut the jobs for the company to survive and airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick have been hit hard by the crisis.
Holt said in a message to staff, “We must do this to secure the lifeline of funding from lenders and investors to protect as many jobs as possible in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
“It’s true that we’ve seen tough times before, the volcanic cloud, 9/11, the financial crisis – and we’ve weathered these.
“But this time it’s different. We have never seen anything like Covid-19 in our lifetimes.
“We are now facing a long period of uncertainty and reduced flight numbers, along with significant changes taking place to the way people travel and the way goods move around the world.
“There is no escaping the fact that the industry is now smaller than it was, and it will remain so for some time to come.”
Nadine Houghton, national officer of the GMB said, “With Swissport now considering job cuts on this scale we have deep concerns about the viability of many of our regional airports and the benefits for regional connectivity that they bring.”
Oliver Richardson, national officer of Unite said, “We can’t wait any longer, the UK Government needs to urgently intervene with a bespoke financial package and an extension of the 80% furlough scheme for the aviation industry.
“Speed is of the essence if the government is to save thousands of aviation jobs and livelihoods.”