Birmingham airport has confirmed that a quarter of its workforce is at risk due to the impact of the Cobid-19 pandemic.

Up to 250 redundancies are being considered due to the “most significant downturn” in the history of the airport, chief executive Nick Barton revealed.

He said: “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic at Birmingham airport has been significant, with a passenger scenario for this financial year of 90% less than in 2019/20.

“Whilst we have tried to protect as many jobs as possible by limiting spending and maximising the use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the continued decline in traffic and loss of income is unsustainable.

“Maintaining employment at the same level as that prior to the pandemic is sadly not possible and it is therefore, with regret, that we must now consider re-sizing and restructuring the business.

“We have commenced discussions with the union and a formal consultation with affected colleagues will begin in the coming weeks, as we consider reducing the employee headcount.

“This could lead to up to 250 redundancies affecting both permanent and seasonal employees.

“The last few months have been very challenging for many of our employees and we understand that this news will be disappointing, particularly whilst many remain on furlough.

“However, we have had to take this difficult decision in the best interest of the business in the long-term, after what has been the most significant downturn in our history.”

Formal consultations with the Unite union will start early next week.

The union’s regional officer Peter Coulson said: “The challenges being faced at Birmingham airport demonstrate why it is imperative the government hesitates no longer in providing specific support for aviation. It is the sector which has been most severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“While Unite understands the unprecedented challenges facing the aviation sector as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this decision is premature.

“The government’s job retention scheme continues until October and with air bridges potentially opening the situation in the autumn may look very different.
“Our call to the airport is put the redundancy programme on hold.”