Coronavirus crisis: London Luton Airport reveals what action it is taking to survive

Luton Luton Airport chief executive Alberto Martin.

Luton Luton Airport chief executive Alberto Martin. - Credit: Archant

The chief executive of London Luton Airport has finally released a statement about the coronavirus crisis, and the good news is that jobs are currently safe.

Alberto Martin broke days of silence last night to speak out about what action the airport was taking to weather the storm which has embroiled the travel industry.

He said: “The coronavirus and its global impact on health and livelihoods is like nothing else the world has ever seen before. As a business focused on the movement of people, aviation is on the frontline of this outbreak.

“This unprecedented situation for the country and our industry has had a dramatic impact on the airport. We know this will have severe repercussions for all those associated with it. Whilst we expect demand for air travel to start to return once travel restrictions are lifted, we are currently facing serious disruption.

“We are working tirelessly with staff, unions and all of our partners to take measures to protect the airport’s future and in turn the local and regional economy and the jobs we support.”

With guidance from Public Health England, the airport has taken immediate action to ensure the commercial viability of the business while maintaining highest standards of health and safety.

This includes a ban on all overtime, a freeze on all recruitment and restrictions on costs to essential expenditure only.

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Parts of the terminal building will be closed, including the long and medium-term car parks, and all non-essential maintenance and project work will be suspended, including work on the airport expansion.

Finally, there will be a 20 per cent reduction in pay across the business, coupled with a 20 per cent reduction in hours.

He added: “For now, we have managed to avoid the need for redundancies, but we will continue to react to the changing situation and will take decisive action to further protect the business if we need to. We know many of our partners at the airport have also implemented similar measures to protect the future of their businesses and in some cases have already had to go further. We hope they can return their usual operations soon.

“We have acted quickly and decisively to protect our business and our employees as best we can, but the situation is changing fast. In order for airports to survive and to continue to provide critical infrastructure the UK economy needs when this crisis is over, it is vital that the government takes measures to support us and protect the industry as a whole, now.

“This week I made our case directly with both the Transport Secretary and the Aviation Minister. Airports provide the connectivity which underpins the UK’s economy and will be essential in getting the country back up and running once the outbreak is finally contained. We welcome the news of a potential rescue package for airports and airlines, but time is of the essence. We urgently need clarity on what and how these measures will be implemented.”