The company, which provides airport ground services and handles air cargo, said the coronavirus pandemic has caused its revenue to drop by 75%. The planned job cuts comprise half its workforce in Britain and Ireland.

“Our business relies on a high volume of flights taking place. When aircraft aren’t flying, our source of revenue disappears,” Jason Holt, CEO of Swissport UK and Ireland, said in a statement.

Holt said he was grateful for government support programs that have temporarily subsidized wages during the pandemic. But demand for flights is not expected to fully recover for several years after lockdowns are lifted and taxpayer support is gradually being withdrawn.

“We now must adapt to the unfortunate reality that there simply aren’t enough aircraft flying for our business to continue running as it did before Covid-19; and there won’t be for some time to come.” said Holt.

Swissport is owned by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which traces its roots to the aviation industry. Swissport provides services at more than 300 airports around the world, including 80 in Europe and 90 in North America.

Aviation companies around the world are starting the painful process of scaling back their businesses. ADS, the UK’s aerospace industry association, has estimated that up to 25,000 civil aerospace jobs are at risk in Britain.

European airlines including Ryanair (RYAAY), Lufthansa (DLAKF), British Airways and Air France-KLM (AFLYY) are already shedding tens of thousands of jobs as they race to slash costs. In the United States, Boeing (BA) has announced plans to reduce the size of its workforce by 16,000.
France pledges $17 billion to keep Europe in the aerospace race
British Airways, EasyJet (ESYJY) and Ryanair (RYAAY) launched a legal challenge earlier this month to coronavirus quarantine measures imposed by the UK government, warning the restrictions would destroy thousands of jobs. The quarantine requires all international arrivals not covered by a shortlist of exemptions to self-isolate for two weeks.

— Hanna Ziady contributed reporting.

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