Around 250 job losses likely at Bristol airport, due to collapse in its air travel demand
Nearly 250 jobs could be lost at Bristol Airport because demand for air travel has plummeted. The unions are saying these redundancies would leave a ‘huge economic hole’ in the region. Bristol Airport has begun consultation with Unite over making 76 directly employed staff redundant. Swissport has also announced 167 job losses. A smaller number of redundancies at other firms are also expected to be announced soon. There are the usual claims about the alleged economic benefit the airport brings, and the number of jobs it supports. These conveniently ignore the fact that most flights are taken by local people flying abroad for their leisure, spending their money abroad – not in local businesses or local leisure/ holiday destinations. To try to save jobs, the unions want delay, in the hope that air travel demand picks up. The AOA – lobby groups for the industry – said this week up to 20,000 jobs at Britain’s airports are at risk as a result of the collapse of air travel due to the Covid pandemic. Bristol is yet another area has has become too dependent on the airport for jobs, and this vulnerability has now been shown up. Aviation is no longer a sector with guaranteed security and growth for a local economy.
Job losses at Bristol Airport will leave region with a ‘huge economic hole’, union warns
Nearly 250 jobs are at risk at Bristol Airport after demand for air travel plummets
13.7.2020 (Bristol Post)
Union bosses are warning hundreds of potential redundancies at Bristol Airport would leave a ‘huge economic hole’ in the region.
The warning comes from Unite, the UK’s aviation union, following news of nearly 250 job losses at the airport.
Bristol Airport has begun consultation with Unite over making 76 directly employed staff redundant, while Swissport has also announced 167 job losses.
A smaller number of redundancies at other firms are also expected to be announced in the coming days.
In May, Unite warned that a downturn in work at the airport would seriously harm the economies of the South West and Wales.
Bristol Airport generates £1.3 billion per annum for South Wales and the South West of England and supports around 15,000 jobs.
Unite are now asking for any job losses to be delayed until the situation with the aviation industry becomes clearer.
Unite regional officer Tim Morris said: “The redundancies announced by Bristol Airport and Swissport are devastating for our members and the local area.
“Unite is clear that any job losses can and should be delayed until the situation becomes clearer.
“If they go ahead a huge economic hole will open in the region that could take decades to recover.
“Bristol airport plays a crucial role in South Wales and the South West of England, contributing £1.3 billion a year to their economies and supporting thousands of jobs.
Bristol Airport’s CEO gives update on its future and jobs
Ist July 2020
The airport is expecting around 2,000 passengers today as more flights resume
Bristol Airport’s chief executive has said it is “not immune” to the risk of job losses but he is “confident” about the airport’s future.
Dave Lees is calling on the government to provide more support for the aviation sector in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The airport, which resumed more flights today (July 1) to countries including Spain, Italy and Germany, has furloughed more than half its staff since the UK lockdown in March.
Mr Lees said the airport had introduced a number of cost-cutting measures to mitigate the financial impact of coronavirus, including reducing staff pay and stopping non-essential spending, but warned more support was needed at airports across the UK.
“The pandemic has had a very significant impact,” he said. “Aviation has been impacted to the highest degree. We were hit hard as an industry and we will be one of the last to recover. It will be years rather than months.”
The Airport Operators Association said this week up to 20,000 jobs at Britain’s airports are at risk as a result of the collapse of air travel caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“There is a huge risk associated with airports, and the ecosystem linked to that, including, buses, taxis, retail and restaurants. We are not immune to that,” said Mr Lees.
‘There will be job losses unless there is support’
He is now calling on the government to provide an aviation sector recovery package.
“Unfortunately the government hasn’t provided rate relief or air passenger duty relief. There will be job losses unless there is support and we are seeing that – from airlines and manufacturers – already.”
He said Bristol Airport was pushing for the government to allow air bridges – a reciprocal agreement between two countries which means people don’t have to quarantine at either side.
Since June 8, most passengers arriving into the UK (excluding a few exceptions) have been required to provide an address where they would be staying and quarantine for 14 days.
What it will be like to fly through Bristol Airport as international flights resume
Mr Lees said: “We are reopening today and linking Bristol to the rest of the world. We absolutely want air bridges – and for the government to take a science-led approach rather than a blanket ban.”
Around 2,000 passengers are expected to travel to Bristol Airport today as it ramps up flights.
Passenger numbers are extremely low for this time of year, according to Mr Lees, who said the airport usually has 30,000 travellers a day in the summer months.
Bristol Airport: Almost 100 jobs set to be lost
10 July 2020 (BBC)
CEO Dave Lees said action was needed to allow the airport recover and thrive in the longer term.
Almost 100 members of staff at Bristol Airport are set to be made redundant due to the downturn in the airline industry caused by the coronavirus.
The airport directly employs about 400 people and just under a quarter of the roles are under threat.
Bristol Airport would normally expect 27,000 passengers a day during the summer, but when it reopened on 1 July only 2,000 travellers were checked-in.
CEO Dave Lees said the cuts would protect the future of the airport.
Unions are being consulted, with the staff at risk working in areas including customer services and administration.
The airport has seen a large fall in passenger numbers this year due to the coronavirus pandemic
Although numbers have improved since the beginning of July, it is still a long way off the average for this time of year.
The airport has already taken measures such as placing staff on furlough, introducing salary reductions and reducing capital costs.
Mr Lees said: “It is with much regret that we are having to make the announcement which will impact on our people during this difficult period, however we need to ensure that we are making the right decisions to protect the future outlook of the airport.
“It is imperative we take appropriate action to ensure the airport is best placed to recover and thrive in the longer term, and serve our region whilst protecting the majority of jobs and the people who will play a key role in our future.”
Bristol is the latest airport to announce plans for redundancies. Leeds Bradford said it would need to cut a similar number of roles and Belfast International among others set to cut jobs.
Bizarrely, and looking increasingly irrelevant, the airport is still hoping to expand …
Still unknown if Bristol airport will appeal against expansion refusal – they have to decide by 19th September
Bristol Airport has not yet decided whether to appeal against a decision to refuse its expansion plans. North Somerset Planning and Regulatory committee councillors went against the council officers’ recommendation earlier this year, to reject the expansion plans which would have allowed the airport to increase its current capacity from 10 million to 12 million passengers per year. The councillors ruled that environmental and societal impacts outweighed the economic benefits of the expansion. The airport has 6 months in which to appeal, and that time ends of 19th September 2020. A spokesman for the airport said a decision on whether to lodge an appeal had yet to be made and was still under review. The decline in air travel demand will be a factor in the decision. The costs of a public inquiry could run into tens of thousands of pounds for North Somerset Council. It has confirmed it will defend any appeal but said it was unable to comment on any potential costs. It would be for the Planning Inspector who is overseeing the case to decide what costs and conditions to impose on North Somerset Council, if it loses.
Bath and North East Somerset Council rejects Bristol Airport application to increase night flights in summer months
Bath and North East Somerset Council has rejected an application by Bristol Airport to increase the number of night flights. The airport wants to increase the number of night flights to 4,000 throughout the whole year, starting in summer 2021. Currently the airport is allowed 3,000 night flights throughout the summer months and 1,000 in winter. The airport wants to be able to move some of their winter allocation to the summer, when demand is higher. Bath and North East Somerset Council rejected the application – stating it would have a negative impact on people living in towns near the airport. The request for more flights comes after the council opposed the expansion of Bristol Airport in March 2019. Then in March 2020 North Somerset Council threw out the plans, (which included increasing passenger numbers by an extra two million each year and building more car parks) on the grounds they were “incompatible” with the council’s declaration of a climate emergency. The extra night flights would cause noise nuisance to people in both councils.
Bristol Airport expansion plans rejected by North Somerset council by 18-7
North Somerset Council’s Planning & Regulatory Committee has gone against the advice of their own planning officers and have refused permission for Bristol Airport to expand. It has been a “David versus Goliath” battle of local campaigners against the airport, (owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan). The airport wanted to expand from 10 million to 12 million passengers per year, with large carpark and other building. The opposition to the plans was huge, on ground of carbon emissions, as well as noise and general local damage. There were almost 9,000 objections sent in by members of the public, against 2,400 in favour. Councillors voted 18-7 against the plans, with one abstention. Councillors were persuaded that paltry economic benefits to the airport and airlines were far outweighed by the environmental harm. There would be large land take for the parking, and the extra carbon emissions would make targets of carbon neutrality for the area unachievable. Because the councillors went against the officers’ recommendations, the decision will return to the same committee to be ratified. If the decision is ratified, the applicant has six months to lodge an appeal, which would be heard at a public inquiry.