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Coronavirus: London Gatwick sinks to £321m loss as Schipol airport cuts hundreds of jobs

Edmund Heaphy
·Finance and news reporter
·2-min read
Passengers exit from flight-side, arriving at Gatwick Airport, that services many European flights, south of London, early Sunday July 26, 2020. The British government has announced that people travelling from Spain will have to quarantine for 14-days because of a spike in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in some areas of Spain.  Fears of a coronavirus second wave saw the European country struck off the UK's safe list.  (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)
Revenue plunged by 61% at Gatwick Airport, largely due to a 66% fall-off in passenger numbers. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP

London’s Gatwick Airport said on Friday that it swung to a £321m ($420m) loss in the six months to June, as it contended with a catastrophic collapse in passenger numbers and warned of longer-term impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.

Revenue plunged by 61% during the first half of its financial year, largely due to a 66% fall-off in passenger numbers during the period.

The news came after the airport on Wednesday said it needed to trim 600 jobs — or around a quarter of its workforce — so that it could reduce costs in the wake of weaker demand.

On Friday, Royal Schiphol Group, which operates several major airports in the Netherlands, said on Friday it will slash several hundred jobs from its workforce of 3,000 people.

In a trading update on the first half of its financial year, Royal Schiphol Group said it had seen a 62% drop in passenger numbers, resulting in a loss of €246m (£221m).

READ MORE: COVID-19: UK workers switch careers in ‘toughest jobs market in a generation’

The group, which is majority owned by the Dutch government, owns Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, as well as airports in Rotterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven.

“Like any other international airport, the negative impact of COVID-19 on our passenger numbers and air traffic at the start of the year was dramatic and, although there are small signs of recovery, it is a trend we expect to continue to see,” said Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate.

London Gatwick has also slashed its planned capital expenditure by £157m in 2020 and by £196m in 2021, and will also save £100m on operational spending, in part by moving flights to one terminal.

“Decisive and swift action was taken to protect the financial strength of the business, following the spread of COVID-19 in March,” the airport’s parent company said.

Wingate said that Gatwick would emerge “fitter and stronger” from from the proposed company-wide restructuring.

“Despite the immediate challenges I remain resolutely optimistic that Gatwick will recover and retain its position as one of the UK's leading travel hubs and economic driver for the region,” he said.

The airport is owned by VINCI Airports and Global Infrastructure Partners.