Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive Gordon Dewar described a ‘bitterly sad day’ as he spoke on the redundancies of a third of the workforce at Edinburgh Airport.
Jobs will be lost throughout all sections of the airport, including frontline staff, management and support functions which includes the compulsory and voluntary redundancies across the board. Staff will begin to receive letters from August, 1st and will leave their roles on October, 31st.
The airport consulted with staff and unions and its proposals on terms of redundancy were supported by more than 90% of people who took part in the ballot.
Dewar said: “This is a bitterly sad day for the airport and for those colleagues who are losing their jobs through no fault of their own but due to the impact of this dreadful pandemic.
“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.
“Last year we welcomed a record 14.7 million people through our doors. This year we will be lucky to see a third of that and next year won’t be anywhere near where we have previously estimated so the business has to right size to be in a position to survive and recover when it can.”
Edinburgh airport has availed of the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme over the past few months in the wake of the global pandemic and has now considered the most effective approach to its recovery after a difficult time for the industry. The government scheme has helped to retain jobs so far, but the upcoming ending of the scheme and uncertain future of aviation means jobs will inevitably still be lost.
Dewar commented: “The furlough scheme has undoubtedly helped us to retain jobs and we are grateful for the UK Government’s support, as well as that of the Scottish Government through things like rates relief. Despite this, we continued to burn around £3.5 million a month as passenger numbers dropped dramatically and airlines drastically scaled back operations. 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.
“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.
“Aviation jobs rely on passengers and flights. That has been lost in this argument and despite us working with unions to make the case for directed support, we are still waiting to find out what will be done to preserve these jobs which are crucial to any industry and economic recovery.
“Throughout the consultation we have striven to be fair, compassionate and seek an outcome that protects as many people as possible.
“We bitterly regret this necessity and all of our talented colleagues departing the business leave with our very best wishes. They are an incredibly talented workforce who have served Edinburgh Airport fantastically well and we will do what we can to help them find other employment. We are sorry to see them go.”