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Aviation services company Swissport to cut more than 4,500 jobs in the UK | Business


Airport handling company Swissport plans to cut more than 4,500 jobs in the UK as the aviation industry recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

The company, which operates services such as passenger baggage and airline cargo, began a consultation process on Wednesday that is expected to fire 4,556 workers, more than half of its 8,500 UK employees.

Swissport was already under pressure at the start of the crisis when the collapse of the regional airline Flybe put small British airports at risk. However, the grounding of the vast majority of flights since the UK lockout began has virtually wiped out the revenues of many airlines and their suppliers.

Some of Swissports’ largest operations include services to London Gatwick and Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, as well as numerous regional airports.

The company declined to give details of the location of the job losses. Swissport employed around 64,000 people worldwide before the crisis.

The latest layoffs will increase pressure on the government to support the aeronautics and aerospace industries, with tens of thousands of jobs being cut. Airlines British Airways and Virgin Atlantic plan to cut 12,000 and 3,000 jobs, respectively, and jet engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce is laying off 9,000 due to lower demand for new engines and associated maintenance.

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The government’s coronavirus retention program would have paid the salaries of 59,000 workers on leave in the aviation industry, but the planned end of the program in late October has prompted many companies to start laying off workers, given that volumes in some industries are not expected to return to 2019 levels for years.

Nadine Houghton, a national officer at GMB, said it was devastating news that would hit regional economies particularly hard.

With Swissport now considering layoffs on this scale, we are deeply concerned about the viability of many of our regional airports and the benefits to regional connectivity they bring, she said.

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