120 jobs set to go at crisis-hit Prestwick Airport

13.2.2009 (Daily Record)

by John Ferguson

BOSSES at Prestwick airport are axing a quarter of their workforce.

They have told their staff that up to 120 jobs are to go.

The move comes just weeks after the Record revealed a financial crisis at the
Ayrshire airport.

Yesterday, chief executive Mark Rodwell said the cuts were “necessary to ensure
we remain competitive going forward”.

He added: “The exact number will depend on the final summer schedules and the
ongoing consultation process.

“Voluntary redundancies will be considered in the first instance.   The aim has
always been to minimise redundancies.   However, now we have reached this stage,
we believe it’s right to ensure the period of uncertainty for our employees is
over as quickly as possible.

“We are seeing a major decline in aviation activity throughout Europe.”

As well as the decline in the number of people flying, Prestwick have been hit
by some firms moving business elsewhere and the demise of Seguro Holidays.

In January, we revealed staff were being urged to take unpaid leave, while overtime
pay was cancelled and a recruitment freeze imposed.

There was even a plan to close the airport at night.

Last night, Labour Central Ayrshire MP Brian Donohoe said he was “saddened” at
the loss of workers.

He added: “I’ll be getting in touch with Mr Rodwell and the unions to see if
there is any way to soften the blow.”

The cuts were revealed as budget airline Ryanair announced major job losses.

The Dublin firm are to axe 200 staff, including pilots, cabin crew and engineers.

And they confirmed a huge reduction in flights this summer, although Prestwick,
where they have a base, shouldn’t be hit.

It also emerged yesterday that as many as 600 jobs are at risk at Sir Richard
Branson’s airline Virgin Atlantic.

Boss Steve Ridgway added: “No airline are immune from the recession and we continue
to reshape our business to ensure we’re in the best position long term.”


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