Heathrow could cut more than 2,000 jobs if quarantine continues

LONDON • London’s Heathrow Airport said it may need to cut one-third of its workforce if the UK government doesn’t indicate soon its plans to relax a quarantine rule for incoming passengers.

Europe’s busiest air hub, which employs 7,000 people, has eliminated one-third of operating costs and management posts while resisting permanent job cuts among frontline staff, CEO John Holland-Kaye said in a City AM podcast. That can’t remain the case if travel restrictions persist, he said.

“We are very close to having to make a decision on that,” he said. “That’s why I really want to push the government to give us some clarity, one way or the other, about whether we can reopen borders.”

People arriving in Britain by air are required to spend two weeks in self-quarantine after the policy was introduced yesterday to help minimise the spread of Covid-19 as flights resume in coming months. Holland-Kaye said effectively means no one will fly and that British airports and airlines risk losing the entire summer season, pushing smaller players toward collapse.

Heathrow employs 76,000 people including airlines that operate there, so that a total of 25,000 jobs at the airport may actually be at risk, the executive said.

Holland-Kaye has previously said plans for a third runway could be delayed by five years or more as result of the coronavirus outbreak, even if the US$20 billion (RM85 billion) plan overcomes legal and planning hurdles. — Bloomberg