Gatwick Airport made a loss of £321m in the first six months of 2020, with a 66% fall in passenger numbers and a consequent 61% fall in revenue.
The news came two days after the airport announced plans for a ‘significant restructure’ that could result in the loss of 600 job roles, approximately 24% of the current workforce.
Plans to extend Pier 6 are being put on hold
Gatwick, which has over 70% of its employees on furlough, said the restructuring ‘will better align the business to passenger and air traffic forecasts whilst allowing it to remain agile should demand recover faster than expected’.
However, it added: ‘The recovery period to pre-pandemic traffic levels is forecast to be four to five years.’
Chief executive officer Stewart Wingate said: ‘Like any other international airport, the negative impact of COVID-19 on our passenger numbers and air traffic at the start of the year was dramatic and, although there are small signs of recovery, it is a trend we expect to continue to see.
‘As with any responsible company we have protected our financial resilience by significantly reducing our operational costs and capital expenditure. We will emerge a fitter and stronger organisation, best placed to remain flexible and agile in responding to growth opportunities.’
The airport said on Friday that planned capital expenditure has been reduced by £157m for 2020 and £196m for 2021. The programme to extend Pier 6 is in the process of being put on hold, ‘with a view to restarting again in 2022 in line with anticipated airline growth’.
Operational costs have been also reduced by over £100m, including through consolidating air traffic to one terminal allowing for infrastructure shutdowns, severance programmes and termination of fixed term contracts, and improving efficiencies of services in line with reduced airline and passenger demand.