Summer was a wash out, winter is on its way and, faced with recurring covid quarantines and depressed ticket sales, airlines and airports are wondering what they can do to survive it.Aviation company John Menzies specialises in getting passengers and cargo on and off aircraft.On Tuesday the company reported a pre-tax loss of £80.1 million for the first six months of the year and confirmed that one in four of its staff in the UK are at risk of redundancy.Up to 1,200 jobs will go, the majority at Heathrow Airport, as Menzies attempts to “right-size the business.”
The industry says there will be more to come.“Unfortunately [the redundancies at Menzies are] the tip of the iceberg,” Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, told ITV News.
“If you’ve been monitoring what has happened in aviation since the pandemic hit you will have seen there have been thousands of job losses.
"We’ve been waiting for some help from government but unfortunately I don’t think the government appreciates the scale of the challenges we face”.On the high street, Greggs is also having to make difficult decisions.
Post-lockdown sales are down almost 30% on last year and the company says it needs to cut the wage bill.
Greggs says it doesn’t have enough hours to support staff at around half of its 2,039 shops.The company hasn’t said how many redundancies it will make but just “under 5000” people remain partially furloughed.The furlough scheme ends next month and the chief executive of Greggs, Roger Whiteside, says there are “very few circumstances” in which he would use the Job Support Scheme that the chancellor has unveiled to replace it.There’s trouble elsewhere too.
The Card Factory today reported a pre-tax loss of £22m for the six months until end of July.All 1,000 of its shops are now open but sales haven’t quite recovered to pre-lockdown levels and around 900 staff remain furloughed.The company hasn’t announced any redundancy plans yet and is in talks with it landlords about reducing the rent it pays.The government wants to shift the focus from saving jobs to creating new ones.
The prime minister was out and about promising to spending money on further education - retraining shop assistants and bar staff as builders, engineers and even space technicians.Perfectly sensible but easier said than done.Meanwhile some old technology is up against it.
Around 100 coach companies have gone bust since lockdown began and ticket sales slumped.The Confederation of Passenger Transport says a further 24,000 jobs will be lost without more financial support.
The government is signalling it has done everything that it is prepared to do.