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Gatwick in talks with lenders as restrictions push it to massive loss

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

Gatwick Airport is in talks with banks to avoid defaulting on its loans as it blamed Government restrictions for pushing it to a multi-million pound loss.

The business said that a year after requesting short-term waivers on its loans, it was again facing pressure and is asking banks for another extension.

While the airport has remained open throughout the first six months of the year, it said that a collapse in passenger demand and Government restrictions had hit business hard.

Pre-tax loss hit £204 million, about 40% lower than the first six months of 2020 when the Covid pandemic was at its worst.

The business was able to save £31.3 million by slashing staff costs nearly in half. It made more than 40% of its employees redundant last year.

“First I would like to thank all our staff for their hard work and fortitude throughout what has no doubt been the most challenging six months the airport has witnessed with its low passenger and air traffic volumes,” said chief executive Stewart Wingate.

“I remain certain that Gatwick will recover and as a business we are financially and operationally well placed for that.”

He added: “In the UK we are all emerging to enjoy more freedoms due to our world class vaccination programme – however we are in danger of squandering the advantage that vaccination programme has afforded us for international travel.

“Our Government needs to act now and remove unnecessary and costly PCR testing requirements for passengers, particularly for those double vaccinated.

“UK travel recovery should not be allowed to lag behind the US and Europe.

“Passengers need the travel rules simplified so they can choose to travel more freely and enjoy much needed breaks and reunions with family and friends which are currently much more attainable for those in Europe and the US.”

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