As many as 120 jobs may go at Gatwick as the airport’s new owners seek to distance themselves from the previous regime.

Staff in the airport’s planning and commercial departments must effectively reapply for their jobs, according to a report in The Times today, while a consultation period has already started with employees over job losses and changes.

Chief executive Stewart Wingate, who was brought in by new owners Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) following the £1.5 billion acquisition of the airport in December, said the number of redundancies should be much lower than 120, and that the restructure was aimed at improving the airport.

“We announced this restructuring so people have an opportunity to tell us what could improve in their jobs and also to give us the opportunity to bring in new and fresh people,” he said.

“We want to make sure we have people that agree with us and want to move forward with us.”

The changes come as part of a wider package for the airport which aims to enable it to compete with BAA-owned Heathrow and Stansted airports. The package includes a £100 million project to increase North Terminal’s capacity from 16 million to 20 million a year, and a makeover of South Terminal.