Edinburgh Airport warns of possible further job losses after 98% traffic nose dive

Scotland’s leading airport said stricter travel restrictions could force more redundancies after passenger numbers plummeted to 2 per cent of normal.
Edinburgh Airport has already reduced its workforce by one third following the dramatic fall in passengers traffic. Picture: Lisa FergusonEdinburgh Airport has already reduced its workforce by one third following the dramatic fall in passengers traffic. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Edinburgh Airport has already reduced its workforce by one third following the dramatic fall in passengers traffic. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Edinburgh Western Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton told the Scottish Parliament today that the airport “had signalled that [the restrictions] could well lead to further unplanned redundancies”.

A source said: “We will need to do analysis of the forecasts, but we may have to make more people redundant.

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“We were at rock bottom after the first lockdown and are almost there again.

"We are expecting to be virtually closed apart from the odd flight.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday a “comprehensive system of quarantine hotels is required” for international arrivals and has urged Scots not to book foreign holidays.

The reduction in traffic since last March led to one third of Edinburgh Airport’s workforce being made redundant – 250 of the 750 total – which it originally described as the “worst case scenario”.

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Mr Cole-Hamilton told First Minister’s Questions: “The First Minister’s announcement of new border arrangements and her advice against booking international travel came as a surprise to the management of Edinburgh airport, who learned about it only while watching the lunchtime briefing on television.

"That has effectively closed down the aviation sector, and the airport has signalled that it could well lead to further unplanned redundancies in my constituency.

"The airport does not oppose the restrictions but is concerned that they are being brought in without the support packages that have been offered to the sector in other countries that have gone before us.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “We are specifically seeking to work with the United Kingdom Government so that, collectively, we can ensure that there is additional support for airports and the aviation sector.

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"If we want to get back to any semblance of domestic normality during the next few months, we must make sure that we are not taking the risk of bringing the virus back into the country.

"I do not believe that me saying that came as a surprise to anybody who has been listening to any of this in the past weeks.”

An Edinburgh Airport spokesperson said: "The aviation industry understands the needs for restrictions but there is no denying that it will continue to suffer from them.

"Government decisions have a direct impact on our business and we have to consider what they mean for us.

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"If we follow similar strategies implemented in New Zealand and Australia, then we must have similar support packages available to the variety of firms in the industry, including airports.

"Another year of almost zero passengers is not sustainable and support will be crucial if we are to be in a position to recover.”

The few flights at Edinburgh this afternoon included Istanbul, Heathrow, Gatwick, Bristol and Belfast.

AGS Airports, which runs Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said it had no plans for further redundancies.

It has also reduced its workforce from around 500 to 280.

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However, unlike Edinburgh it had already outsourced its security and fire service staff to other firms.

Passenger traffic at Glasgow is also down by around 98 per cent compared to a year ago.

The remaining flights from the airport this afternoon included Alesund in Norway, Heathrow and Gatwick, as well as island services to Barra, Islay, Stornoway and Tiree.

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