How One Airline’s Pandemic Damage Turns into Everybody’s Ache
Swissport’s UK branch has been able to employ its employees as part of the country’s vacation program, which helped pay up to 80 percent of wages in companies affected by the pandemic. However, this state grant expired on October 31, prompting Swissport to offer layoff packages. About 950 workers accepted them, including Tracey Moore. (In November, the government extended the vacation to March.)
“The problem is, we all know it will take years for business to recover. This won’t be over in 12 months, ”said Wirth. Swissport’s income directly reflects the amount of air traffic. The airlines do not agree on any minimum spend with the company. The flexibility the company offered airlines suddenly became a curse – when flights disappeared from flight schedules, Swissport’s revenue also disappeared. Until the demand for flights resumes, Swissport will be a much smaller company, Wirth said. Around 3,250 employees have already been laid off in Great Britain, 40 percent of the workforce.
Swissport’s competitors have also been forced to drastically cut staff, including some employees who have spent decades behind the scenes at airports.
Leonardo Aquaro is one of the victims. In 2003, at the age of 23, he began working at an airline check-in and ticket office at London’s Heathrow Airport. Most recently, Mr. Aquaro was operations manager at Menzies Aviation and managed the dispatchers of flights where aircraft are quickly turned around at the airport. He was on leave in March, then released in September. He doesn’t think he will ever return to the industry.
“There’s not much out there right now, even if you have a lot of experience,” he said. And he says the industry has changed: the demand for cost reductions has overwhelmed the staff and worsened the contracts. Instead, he studies marketing and web design online and spends more time with his 7 year old son and young daughter.
Four years ago, Eagle Couriers, a Scotland-based corporate delivery service, decided to focus on returning lost luggage to passengers in what is known as baggage return. It acquired THS Couriers, a Virgin Atlantic creditor.