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Gatwick welcomes 30 families for their accessibility day

London Gatwick welcomed 30 families to see the sights and hear the sounds of a busy airport in a safe, positive and fun environment on Saturday 6th April. The aim of Gatwick’s Accessibility Day is to help familiarise families who may find the airport experience overwhelming and need extra support with their airport journey – before they actually travel.

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The families were able to board an aeroplane, experience security procedures and even have a refreshment in the V-Room – Virgin Atlantic’s exclusive lounge-as part of their tour of Gatwick.

Additionally, the guests were invited to see Gatwick’s extensive facilities for passengers with a disability – both physical and hidden. This included a chance to see the Gatwick sensory room – a UK airport first – which gives families respite from what can be a busy and overwhelming environment for some travellers with specific needs.

Employees from British Airways, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and TUI were on hand throughout the day and helped answer questions from the families to explain more about how the airport works.

Sara Marchant, Accessibility Officer, London Gatwick, said:

“I am delighted that we hosted a successful accessibility event. It was great to see so many families take part and engage so enthusiastically.

“We aim to be the UK’s most accessible airport, and we hope it showed everyone how much focus we put on being an airport for every traveller. We have a range of facilities and well-trained staff to help any passenger who may have a disability or simply require any kind of additional assistance and support.”

Gatwick

‘Devastating news’ reaction as airport ground handler Swissport, which serves Gatwick, cuts over 4,500 jobs

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Over 4,500 jobs are to be lost at airport ground handling firm Swissport.

Staff were told that 4,556 jobs are to be cut, more than half of its 8,500 UK workforce.

The company which supplies and manages baggage handlers and check-in workers at airports across the UK including Gatwick told staff via their chief executive that they had never seen anything like COVID-19 before and whilst they had survived problems in the past, this time it was different.

Unions Unite and GMB have instantly called on government to announce bespoke financial package to save the beleaguered aviation industry.

Unite and the GMB the two union’s representing Swissport workers, described the company’s decision to cut at least 4,556 jobs as ‘devastating news’.

Swissport is the country’s largest ground handler; handling flights coming into nearly every regional airport across the UK. It provides ground handling services to many major airlines, including ticketing and baggage handling. 

In light of the announcement, the unions have renewed calls for a bespoke financial package from the UK government to support the aviation industry and save thousands of jobs as the economy continues to reopen.  

Oliver Richardson, Unite national officer, said: 

We can’t wait any longer, the UK Government needs to urgently intervene with a bespoke financial package and an extension of the 80 per cent furlough scheme for the aviation industry. 

“Speed is of the essence if the government is to save thousands of aviation jobs and livelihoods. It’s not too late.”

Nadine Houghton GMB National Officer said:

“This is devastating news. At least 4,000 workers – and possibly many more – will lose jobs which are essential to regional economies. 

“With Swissport now considering job cuts on this scale we have deep concerns about the viability of many of our regional airports and the benefits for regional connectivity that they bring.”

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