About a third of jobs at Edinburgh airport are to be lost in a restructuring process as the airport plans its recovery from Covid-19.
The airport, which directly employs 750 people, has completed a consultation with staff and unions and has now begun the redundancy process.
More than 90% of staff who voted supported the terms, according to the airport, which said the job losses also include compulsory and voluntary redundancies across the business.
Affected staff will leave on October 31.
Chief executive Gordon Dewar said the airport “will be lucky to see a third” of the 14.7 million passengers it recorded in 2019 this year, meaning the busines had to “right-size to be in a position to survive”.
He added: “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.
The airport has used the UK government’s Job Retention Scheme over the past few months and said it has “helped to retain jobs”, but that its closure and the “uncertain recovery of aviation” means “jobs will still be lost”.
Dewar explained that, despite using the furlough scheme, the airport has “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,” he said.
“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.”
Union Unite said remaining staff would receive temporary pay cuts and reduced hours, and said it would push to reinstate their full salaries and working patterns “when the sector improves”.
Regional officer Sandy Smart said: “The entire civil aviation sector has been impacted by the pandemic and we are genuinely worried about the sector in Scotland once the government support through JRS is reduced. We have been calling on Westminster and Holyrood parliaments to put an aid package together to help Scotland’s airports and we will continue to pursue this.
“Scotland needs its airports and the aviation industry is crucial in ensuring we remain connected globally. ”
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