Statement on COVID-19

The world is currently contending with the most significant public health situation in living memory. The safety and welfare of our staff and passengers is our highest priority and with this in mind we have been working closely with and taking a lead from the relevant authorities including Public Health England. Although we have strict procedures already in place for all infectious diseases, we have provided information on the measures that we are taking in order to inhibit the spread of COVID-19. This includes enhanced cleaning in certain areas, whilst also introducing other additional control measures and new operational procedures to support infection control.

An increasing number of airlines are now withdrawing flights and curtailing their flying schedules as numerous countries move into lockdown. Newcastle is a strong regional airport, but in order to navigate the significant reduction in passengers as a result of the COVID-19 situation, we must take urgent steps to protect the long term interests of the business and the North East region.

Last week we stopped all seasonal recruitment with immediate effect, stopped other non-essential expenditure and paused capital development projects. We have also written to all staff asking them for their help, and will consult with all permanent staff and the Unite Trade Union regarding the implementation of a range of further measures. We have to take these steps to safeguard the long term stability of the business and we will endeavour to protect employment and in particular avoid compulsory redundancies in so far as is possible; albeit this can’t be guaranteed.

The long term outlook for the business as a key asset for the region and stable employer remains positive, nevertheless such is the gravity of this unprecedented situation that we must now act decisively.

We welcome the Government’s decision to discuss a potential support package specifically for airlines and airports. We look forward to working with ministers and officials on the details of what is proposed and on its implementation.