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More jobs lost at Gatwick as dnata restructure their business

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More job losses have been reported at Gatwick through one of their ground handling firms.

dnata, who operate staff at Gatwick and at Heathrow confirmed the news that they were having to resize their operation.

In a statement the firm said that COVID-19 had caused ‘unprecedented disruption’ with ‘unpredictable demand’.

Sources close to the firm said that up to 80 positions at Gatwick had been lost with even more to go at Heathrow, although ndata had not confirmed the figures at time of publication.

dnata offer a range of airport service from ramp work including baggage handling and aircraft moving through to customer services.

A dnata spokesperson said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to global trade and industry and has devastated the aviation and travel sectors. The situation remains very fluid with unpredictable demand, schedule and capacity changes becoming the norm.

Considering this operating environment, and like so many other organisations that have been impacted, we’ve had to take steps to right size our business and ensure it is fit for purpose.

We have conducted thorough manpower assessments and have made very difficult, but necessary decisions to let some of our people go.  

We will strictly comply with all relevant regulations and provide all possible support to affected employees throughout the redundancy process.” 

Gatwick

Gatwick to charge drivers to drop off passengers outside terminals

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Image: Google Streetview

Next year Gatwick will be introducing a charge for vehicles using the forecourt to drop off passengers directly outside its terminals – as most UK airports have done for many years – and the revenue raised will help the airport continue its recovery from the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Anyone who does not wish to pay the charge will be able to drop-off or pick-up passengers in the airport’s long-stay car parks with two hours free parking and a free shuttle bus to the terminals.

Currently, cars are permitted to drop off passengers directly in front of both terminals.  People picking up passengers are required to use the short stay car park, although this does not always happen, and some people use the forecourt to pick up. 

A £5 charge will therefore be introduced for vehicles using the forecourt.  This charge will help Gatwick continue to meet its commitment to reduce ‘Kiss and Fly’ – the least sustainable type of journey to the airport as it involves two return car journeys – while also further encouraging public transport use and potentially cutting road traffic congestion and emissions at Gatwick and surrounding local areas.  Currently around 15% of airport journeys are ‘Kiss and Fly’.

Gatwick is looking at solutions to allow those who regularly drop off and pick up at the South Terminal each day to access to the train station to make a token annual payment contribution.  Suitable solutions for Blue Badge holder’s convenience are also being looked at.

Reducing the airport’s environmental impact continues to be an important focus and Gatwick plans to put a proportion of the revenue into Gatwick’s existing Sustainable Transport Fund.

No date has been set to introduce the new charging system but the first step includes a consultation on the implementation of a Red Route system across the airport campus to indicate that stopping to park, load or unload, board or alight from a vehicle is prohibited.  Revenue raised through Red Route fines will also be used to fund sustainable transport initiatives under the guidance of the airport’s Transport Steering Group, which includes external local representatives.

The airport benefits from strong public transport links, with recent improvements enabling a train leaving for London every three to four minutes – as regular as tube services – and a £4 million upgrade to an airport bus interchange benefitting the 3 million people who use it each year.  Around 650 local services arrive / depart the bus interchange each week, many of them 24-hour services.

Gatwick also remains committed to its investment in the ongoing £150 million project to upgrade the airport’s train station, which will make connections to other destinations easier by doubling the size of the station concourse, adding five new lifts and eight escalators to improve passenger flow, and widening two platforms to reduce overcrowding.

Jonathan Pollard Chief Commercial Officer, said:

Gatwick has just gone through the most challenging period in its history and this new drop off charging scheme will  give us a new revenue stream to aid recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and ultimately help us continue as an important provider of economic prosperity and jobs across the region.

“Gatwick is also committed to promoting sustainable travel and this new scheme will encourage passengers to consider more sustainable transport options, including public transport services or parking options at the airport, which only involves two single car trips, compared to two return trips when dropping off.

“The airport already has strong public transport links and we will build on this with a proportion of the revenue raised supporting new sustainable transport initiatives.  We will also continue to fund our share of the ongoing project to build a new £150 million airport train station.”

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