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Heathrow launches voluntary redundancy scheme

Steve Parsons

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Heathrow Airport has launched a voluntary redundancy scheme and warned it cannot rule out further job cuts.

The company, which has around 7,000 directly employed staff, said it had agreed the scheme with unions as it battles to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

It has already cut a third of its managerial roles.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Throughout this crisis we have tried to protect frontline jobs but this is no longer sustainable, and we have now agreed a voluntary severance scheme with our union partners.

“While we cannot rule out further job reductions, we will continue to explore options to minimise the number of job losses.”

British Airways, which operates the most flights to and from the airport, has previously announced a plan to cut up to 12,000 jobs.

A total of 76,000 people are employed across 400 different companies at Heathrow.

Mr Holland-Kaye told the City AM podcast last week that cuts being made by airlines mean around 25,000 of these jobs could be at risk.

Just 228,000 passengers travelled through the airport in May, down 97% on the same month last year.

Airlines have grounded the majority of their aircraft because of the collapse in demand and travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Year-on-year demand across the first five months of 2020 is now down 44%.

Heathrow said in a statement that the “grim picture is set to continue” as the 14-day quarantine policy came into force on Monday.

It is urging the Government to establish air bridges between the UK and countries where the risk of being infected by coronavirus is deemed to be low, so passengers can avoid having to self-isolate.

This will enable the UK to “restart its economy in earnest, protecting livelihoods in aviation and the sectors that rely on it”, according to the airport.