Stansted owner warns of lay-offs due to lack of demand due to virus

Charlie Cornish, chief executive officer at MAG, has warned of the lay-offs Picture: LONDON STANSTED

Charlie Cornish, chief executive officer at MAG, has warned of the lay-offs Picture: LONDON STANSTED AIRPORT - Credit: Archant

Bosses at Stansted Airport have announced staff may be temporarily laid off as demand for air travel has nosedived amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive officer of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns Stansted, warned the dramatic measures may be necessary to safeguard employees’ futures.

The news comes as prime minister Boris Johnson advised against non-essential contact as the UK bids to contain the spread of the virus, officially known as COVID-19.

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Mr Cornish said: “The COVID-19 outbreak has led to a rapid and unprecedented reduction in demand for air travel in and out of the UK, and MAG airports are seeing much lower passenger numbers as a result.

“We expect demand to return as the COVID-19 peak passes, but this temporary and dramatic downturn requires us to act now to protect our position at this critical time.

“Over the next few days we will be consulting with our colleagues and unions and introducing measures to reduce our costs and preserve the group’s resources at this critical time.

“These will include enforced annual leave, reduced working hours, temporary pay cuts and temporary lay-offs.

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“Our executive team is taking a pay cut with immediate effect and we have frozen recruitment and paused capital expenditure.

“These are difficult decisions for MAG and they have not been taken lightly.

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“We recognise the impact they will have on our people and we will be consulting with our colleagues. “Our aim will always be to protect jobs wherever possible, and we need to take these steps now to ensure the company’s future.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and make further announcements on MAG’s operations as the COVID-19 situation develops.”

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