Liverpool John Lennon Airport announces cutbacks in face of steep fall in traffic

Pay cuts, short-time working and some redundancies are being introduced at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA).

It follows similar measures introduced at Manchester Airports Group this week following a steep decline in air travel across the globe due to widespread cancellations in an effort to suppress the coronavirus outbreak, and advice by the Foreign Office not to travel outside the UK for up to 30 days.

LJLA said the safety and security of both its passengers and employees continues to remain its priority at all times.

In a statement issued on Tuesday evening (March 17), airport bosses said: “At Liverpool John Lennon Airport we continue to remain open for business, however, with substantial reductions in flights and passenger numbers for the coming weeks ahead, we are now having to implement measures to ensure the sustainability of the business during these extreme circumstances.

“All cost reduction opportunities are being pursued and this will, unfortunately, necessitate salary reductions for airport company employees, including the airport’s executive team, reduced working weeks, temporary lay-offs and a number of redundancies.

“All capital expenditure has been deferred too.”

The statement added: “Liverpool John Lennon Airport plays a significant role in the local and regional economy and whilst this situation is not unique to our business, it is important that we put measures in place that will ensure the sustainability of the business in the short term in order to protect our long term future and be best placed to recover from this crisis in due course with the return of airline operations.”

LJLA chief executive John Irving said: “The threat to the whole UK aviation industry should not be underestimated and we await details of the Government’s potential support package for airlines and airports announced by the Chancellor this afternoon, which will be needed to help our industry survive this unprecedented collapse in business.”

Earlier in the day fears grew for the jobs of baggage handlers at the airport after operator Swissport announced it would hold talks with union representatives.

The “consultation” talks could lead to up to 70 redundancies, one unnamed member of staff said

A Swissport spokeswoman said: “As the situation evolves, we have a responsibility to our employees, customers and partners to ensure our business remains resilient and reliable in this fluid market environment.

“We have launched a formal consultation process through which we will seek to agree a series of proposals which we believe will put the business on firmer footing for the future.

“This process will be led by employee representatives and senior management. We understand that this will be an uncertain and concerning time for colleagues and our priority is to support them throughout this period.”