Coronavirus: major Gatwick Airport airline temporarily lays off ‘significant share’ of workforce

An airline which carries more than four million passengers from Gatwick Airport is preparing to cancel around 3,000 flights due to coronavirus.

Norwegian has said it is preparing to cancel approximately 15 per cent of its total capacity between mid-March and mid-June.

The company has also put several other measures in place, including temporary layoffs of a significant share of its workforce, a spokesman confirmed.

He said: “The past week, Norwegian has experienced reduced demand on future bookings. The company will cancel about 3000 flights to meet the change in demand.

“It will affect the entire network and more details will be shared as soon as they are ready to be implemented. Affected customers will receive information about these changes as soon as they take place.”

CEO Jacob Schram said it was a ‘critical time’ for the aviation industry.

He added: “We encourage the authorities to immediately implement measures to imminently reduce the financial burden on the airlines in order to protect crucial infrastructure and jobs.”

“Unfortunately, cancellations will affect a significant share of our colleagues at Norwegian.

“We have initiated formal consultations with our unions regarding temporary layoffs for flying crew members as well as employees on the ground and in the offices.

“We will continue to engage in constructive dialogue with unions and employees to work through this difficult situation together.”

Norwegian carries almost 6 million UK passengers each year from London Gatwick, Edinburgh and Manchester Airports to 30 destinations worldwide, according to the spokesman.

The firm is the third largest airline at London Gatwick, with 4.6 million yearly passengers, and over 1,200 UK-based pilots and cabin crew.

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