UP to 45 people could be laid off from Belfast International Airport, it emerged on Friday.
Graham Keddie, Managing Director, Belfast International Airport, has warned that pre-COVID 19 business may not return to Aldergrove for ‘a few years’ and that the measure would be ‘a last resort’.
While some airlines have announced resumptions to their schedules in the summer, BIA has lost all commercial passenger flights during the crisis, with only cargo, medical, military and mail services remaining operational.
Mr Keddie said it was costing £60,000 a day to keep the facility open.
In a statement, he said: “It is with deep regret and sadness that we announce Belfast International Airport has informed all staff that we will be commencing a consultation with employees across all departments about the introduction of voluntary redundancies.
“We estimate there will be up to 45 employees lost out of a total workforce of 195.
“I would like to thank all the staff for their hard work, loyalty and dedication. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on both airlines and airports and the recent announcement by the UK Government about imposing quarantine on arrivals will only exacerbate this further.
““We do not foresee air travel returning to pre-COVID-19 levels for a few years and therefore we have no alternative but to take this difficult decision to reduce our staff numbers.
“Throughout this period we have kept the airport open in order to keep Northern Ireland connected.
“ This has been for emergency medical flights and supplies as well as to accommodate Royal Mail deliveries, military flights and other essential cargo.
“Keeping the airport fully operational is costing £60,000 a day and we cannot continue to operate at this level.
“As we move to reopen for passenger flights in the coming days we regret that we have to make this announcement.
“We know it will take time for air travel to recover and this is a measure of last resort.”
For more on this story, see the Antrim Guardian on Tuesday.