Luton Airport will fire up to 250 people

Luton Airport is to make up to 250 staff redundant in the latest jobs cull in the aviation sector.

The airport, London’s fourth largest, has started consultations with unions to sack almost 30% of its workforce, forecasting a 70% drop in passenger numbers this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The airport is primarily a base for low-cost leisure airlines, although it also serves many private jets.

Alberto Martin, Luton’ chief executive, said the airport had to consider its future and did not expect traffic to return to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2023 or 2024. Its biggest airline, Wizz, is laying off 1,000 staff, while easyJet, whose HQ is at Luton, has announced 1,900 job cuts in the UK alone.

Martin said: “Though we remain confident the airport will recover it is difficult to predict the full effect of this pandemic. In the short-term passenger numbers will be much lower than pre-pandemic levels.”

The Unite union said it was another “hammer blow” to the aviation sector and warned that further jobs among contractors and suppliers would also be at risk, with the airport playing a central role in the region’s economy.