By Q Radio News
Belfast International Airport is to make 45 of their 195 strong workforce redundant, partly due to the impact of COVID-19.
Scheduled flights from the airport stopped at the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown in March and have not yet resumed.
Flights with EasyJet will not resume until June 15th, with Jet2 flights not returning until July.
In a statement the airport's Managing Director, Graham Keddie said:
"It is with deep regret and sadness that we announce Belfast International Airport has informed all staff that we will be commencing a consultation with employees across all departments about the introduction of voluntary redundancies. We estimate there will be up to 45 employees lost out of a total workforce of 195.
“I would like to thank all the staff for their hard work, loyalty and dedication. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on both airlines and airports and the recent announcement by the UK Government about imposing quarantine on arrivals will only exacerbate this further.
Belfast International airport has announced it is set to cut 45 jobs from its workforce of 195.— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) May 29, 2020
Staff have been informed and it's starting a process of voluntary redundancies.
"We estimate there will be up to 45 employees lost out of a total workforce of 195." pic.twitter.com/5VmpZWeGhv
“We do not foresee air travel returning to pre-COVID-19 levels for a few years and therefore we have no alternative but to take this difficult decision to reduce our staff numbers.
“Throughout this period we have kept the airport open in order to keep Northern Ireland connected. This has been for emergency medical flights and supplies as well as to accommodate Royal Mail deliveries, military flights and other essential cargo. Keeping the airport fully operational is costing £60,000 a day and we cannot continue to operate at this level.
“As we move to reopen for passenger flights in the coming days we regret that we have to make this announcement. We know it will take time for air travel to recover and this is a measure of last resort.”
Stormont economy minister Diane Dodds expressed her sadness at the news.
"It is always regrettable when there are job losses in any sphere whatsoever and I fear that the impact on our economy will be very great indeed," she said.
Economy Minister @DianeDoddsMLA says the job losses at Belfast International Airport are regrettable.— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) May 29, 2020
She says the impact on the economy could be "very great"
She adds that EasyJet and Jet2 will be restarting operations soon.https://t.co/o8VEx4qiP7
"We have been operating with only a fraction of the connectivity that we've had. I understand that easyJet and Jet2 are restarting operations from Belfast International Airport and of course I'm in constant contact with the department of transport to try and sustain our airports through a time of very great crisis.
"Restoring connectivity and growing the economy and restarting the economy again go hand in hand."