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Consultation on job losses at Newquay airport now underway

Consultation on job losses at Newquay airport now underway

Published by Helen Down at 5:34pm 19th June 2020.

The boss of Newquay airport says that it is expected that there will 75% less passengers than forecast this year due to the impact of coronavirus and the collapse of Flybe.

Peter Downes, the managing director of the Cornwall Council owned airport, has been in post for just 18 days and is having to oversee one of the most disruptive periods ever seen in aviation.

In March regional airline FlyBe, which was responsible for the majority of flights from the airport, collapsed and then the airport was forced to close due to the pandemic.

Yesterday the airport’s operators Corserv announced a restructuring which would result in up to 36 redundancies.

Today Mr Downes gave a detailed report on the latest situation at the airport to the Cornwall Airport Newquay Consultative Forum.

In his report he explained that it had originally been planned to cut 70 jobs from the airport but this had been cut to 36.

He said that consultation with staff on the redundancies is due to start tomorrow.

“We are working really hard to support affected staff and looking at redeployment opportunities in the wider Corserv group. It is an advantage that other airports that are going through this do not have.”

Mr Downes said that staff who could be redeployed would be offered training and support to help them. He also said that applications for voluntary redundancy would be considered to “keep the forced redundancies at the absolute minimum”.

The managing director added: “Looking ahead for the rest of the year, passenger numbers will be 75% less than original projections for this calendar year.”

He said that Cornwall Council was in discussions with the government about securing short term funding to help the airport. Similar requests have been made by other regional airports in the UK.

But he added “the prognosis is two to five years to reach the levels (of passenger numbers) that we had before”.

Mr Downes said that the airport had been successful in securing some airlines which would start operating from July.

But he warned that the frequency of flights would be less than previously planned and that some of them would use smaller aircraft than FlyBe and so the number of passengers and revenue would be reduced.

Mr Downes also said that some services would not be returning in 2020 and were planning to come back in 2021.

The consultative forum heard that while the passenger terminal at the airport had been closed during lockdown the airport has continued to operate for emergency services including Cornwall Air Ambulance as well as the search and rescue helicopters.

Stephen Murdoch from Cornwall Air Ambulance thanked the airport for ensuring that it could continue.

He said: “We have had 194 lifesaving missions since lockdown, none of those would have been possible without the airport.”

The consultative forum voted unanimously to formally record their thanks to the airport for all the work that had been done.

By Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

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