Gatwick Airport has forecast it ‘will take five years to recover’ after announcing a 61.3 per cent fall in revenue and a £321m loss in its half yearly results.

Passenger numbers fell from 22.5 million to 7.5 million from 2019 figures. The airport has also forecast that it would take “four to five years” for passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels. Earnings before tax and interest dropped by 98.3 per cent.

The airport will now be implementing a restructuring plan which would “better align the business to passenger and air traffic forecasts”. The results come just two days after London’s southern hub announced 600 jobs cuts which will enable the airport to align with current air traffic forecasts. This follows an 80 per cent drop in passenger numbers over August, traditionally the airport’s busiest month.

Significant reduction in operational costs

Chief executive Stewart Wingate said COVID-19 had had a dramatic economic impact on all international airports but added there were small signs of recovery. He said the restructure would be focussed on ensuring the business was “best placed to take advantage of future growth.”

“As with any responsible company we have protected our financial resilience by significantly reducing our operational costs and capital expenditure. We are going through a proposed company-wide restructuring programme and I want to thank all my staff for their hard work to date whilst we go through this difficult time. We will emerge a fitter and stronger organisation, best placed to remain flexible and agile in responding to growth opportunities. This includes continuing to do all we can to protect the safety and wellbeing of our staff and passengers.

Rebuild could take five years, but “Gatwick will recover”

“In this post COVID-19 travelling world, we are working hard with our airlines to ensure we continue to offer our customers a wide choice of destinations and carriers. We also expect, next year, to progress our plans to bring the existing Northern (stand-by) Runway into routine use which, as we rebuild our passenger numbers over the next four to five years, will enable us to offer even more travel choice. We will ensure we continue to deliver our operation mindful of our environmental, social and governance responsibilities. We want to rebuild better.

Despite the immediate challenges I remain resolutely optimistic that Gatwick will recover and retain its position as one of the UK’s leading travel hubs and economic driver for the region.”

Gatwick currently has 18 airlines flying to 115 airports in 42 countries.

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