Almost 240 jobs are at risk due to “crucial restructuring” at London City airport as Covid-19 continues to impact aviation sector.

The Docklands airport has officially opened consultation with staff to explore ways of reducing costs, including voluntary redundancy.

The action, which could result in up to 239 roles being lost, is being taken to safeguard the airport in the face of the pandemic.

Commercial flights were suspended at the height of the pandemic on March 25 because of the sharp contraction in international travel.

Flights resumed on June 21 but passenger numbers have remained well below 2019 levels and this is expected to continue during the upcoming winter season.

The airport has already cut all non-essential spending together with a temporary pause to a £500 million development programme, including a new terminal extension.

Major projects already underway will be completed as planned by the end of this year, providing increased capacity for when demand returns.

Chief executive Robert Sinclair said: “It is with huge regret that we are announcing this restructuring programme today and our thoughts are with all of our highly valued staff and their families.

“The aviation sector is in the throes of the biggest downturn it has ever experienced as a result of the pandemic. We have held off looking at job losses for as long as possible, but sadly we are not immune from the devasting impact of this virus.

“Our focus in the coming weeks is to help all staff through this exceptionally difficult period.

“We are committed to playing our part in rebuilding a stronger local and national economy once the worst of the downturn passes and believe that the difficult decisions we are taking now will enable the airport to bounce back in a better shape when growth returns.”