Edinburgh Airport to cut jobs with partial closure as passenger demand plummets

One of Scotland’s busiest airports is to close some areas as it predicts “zero or close to zero passenger demand” during the coronavirus outbreak.

Edinburgh Airport plans to open talks with staff on cutting at least 100 jobs among the 750 people it directly employs. More than 6,000 further workers have jobs relating to the airport.

A number of countries have enforced travel bans and the Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel for UK citizens for 30 days, leading to airlines cutting back on flights.

The airport has now put a consolidation plan in place aimed at enabling it to return to full operations when the virus outbreak ends.

Edinburgh Airport
Empty check-in desks at Edinburgh Airport as passengers are advised against travel (David Cheskin/PA)

The plan includes closing some areas of the terminal, including more than a third of the gates and one of the two arrival halls, with only a handful of shops, bars and restaurants expected to remain open.

Flights still taking place are expected to include cargo, mail, medical and possibly repatriation.

Passenger numbers in February fell 0.4% compared to the previous year to 935,455, but following the virus outbreak in the UK the airport is “predicting a period of zero or close to zero passenger demand”.

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “This is an unprecedented time not only for the aviation industry but for everyone as we all do what we can to ensure the health of ourselves and of those around us.

🆕| A consolidation plan to ensure that Edinburgh Airport remains open and operational during the coronavirus outbreak has been put into action. https://t.co/eaw45xBR3Qpic.twitter.com/RYrnbW9SAG

— Edinburgh Airport (@EDI_Airport) March 19, 2020

“For us, that includes the health of our airport. Our plan is based on keeping the airport open throughout and being there for those people who are still travelling and those staff members who are making that travel possible.

“We’re in a situation which is ever changing and as more countries enforce travel bans or special measures, then it stands to reason that airlines will feel that impact and airports then feel that pain too.

“Unfortunately, that is happening now and we are trying to mitigate as best as we can and steer the airport through this situation in preparation for what comes next – and that is the biggest unknown in all of this.”

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