John Menzies to cut workforce by 17,500

Aviation group John Menzies has announced it has cut 17,500 jobs across the globe in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The UK-headquartered company, which offers ground handling, cargo handling and aircraft refuelling, has seen over the last two weeks number of flights it has handled drop by around 60%.

It added that the dynamics in the cargo sector are more mixed, with increases in activity in certain areas as freight customers seek to respond to underlying demand patterns, but overall cargo volumes are down by around 20%.

“Reductions are being supported in some countries by governmental schemes and we hope that in the fullness of time a high number of these employees can return to the business,” the company said.

The job cuts represent more than half of its workforce at 200 airports in 34 countries.

In addition, all directors and senior management have now taken 20% fee and salary reductions.

The company is also hoping to gain support from the UK government. Last week, the handler, along with three of its rivals, wrote to UK government warning that airport operations could grind to halt unless they were given support.

Giles Wilson, chief executive, said:“John Menzies plc has existed since 1833 and been listed since 1962 but never have we faced such difficult and unpredictable times.

“Our industry has been one of the most affected by Covid-19 and we are doing everything we can to reduce costs whilst looking after the needs of our employees.

“I now look to our Government to support our business and for them to provide the support required to help the UK aviation sector to navigate this crisis. For the aviation supply chain to function it requires a strong inter-reliant chain of airlines, airports and service providers.

“Without these three components of the supply chain,working together,the sector will not function. Handlers such as Menzies are therefore essential to the recovery and future success of the UK and global aviation industry.”

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]