Unions warn the loss of 300 baggage-handling and other jobs at Gatwick this summer will lead to deteriorating services, but airport operator BAA insisted there will be no impact on passengers.
Airport service firm Aviance announced last week it would pull out of passenger handling at Gatwick at the end of August.
Four other companies will continue to provide handling at the airport – Servisair, Swissport, Menzies and British Airways, with Menzies the biggest.
A BAA spokeswoman at Gatwick said: “We will work with Aviance and other handling agents to smooth the transition. This will not affect passengers over the summer.”
An Aviance spokesman agreed: “We are confident passengers will not be affected.” Aviance blamed its withdrawal both on the cost of operating and the customer profile at the airport.
Gatwick grew as a base for the charter airlines, but EasyJet is now the biggest carrier at the airport. Aviance has operated at Gatwick for 30 years.
Unions blamed “a race to the bottom” on services driven by the low-cost carriers. Unite national secretary for civil aviation Steve Turner said: “Something has gone seriously wrong when a leading provider of baggage handling says its operation at the country’s second-largest airport is no longer viable.
“The Government and aviation industry have imposed a financial regime that encourages attacks on costs and cuts in service. Passengers will not thank either for the havoc they are unleashing.”
The GMB union blamed “operators with no track record in the industry” and warned services would deteriorate.
Aviance declined to say which airlines it services at Gatwick.
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