By James Warrington, cityam.com
Gatwick Airport plunged to a £465.5m loss in 2020 as global air traffic and passenger numbers collapsed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the airport remained open throughout the pandemic, passenger numbers plunged 78 per cent as lockdowns and travel restrictions took their toll.
Gatwick said all revenue streams were impacted and posted a loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £25.1m.
The company, which is jointly owned by Vinci Airports and Global Infrastructure Partners, was forced to cut 40 per cent of its workforce as a result of the travel slump.
Despite this, Gatwick said it had: “renewed optimism” for a return to international travel from May after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the country’s lockdown exit strategy this week.
“We are heartened by the UK government’s Covid-19 response plan and look forward to working with the Global Travel Taskforce to develop a framework that can facilitate greater international travel as soon as possible,” said CEO Stewart Wingate.
“This will require the UK government working with other governments, to ease the current crippling travel restrictions and ensure a consistent, reciprocal approach for all travellers in time for this summer.”
He added: “Restoring passenger confidence and offering Covid-19 safe air travel while minimising the need for cost prohibitive testing and disruptive quarantine measures is vital.”
Wingate called for the government to provide further financial support by extending the furlough scheme and providing business rates relief for airports for the current financial year.
Gatwick said it reduced operating costs by £140m last year and deferred more than £380m from the investment originally planned for 2020 and 2021.
In April last year the airport secured a £300m loan from a consortium of banks, while the company confirmed reports it had drawn £250m under the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility.
As of December, it had available liquidity of £573m to meet cashflow, investment levels and interest payments for this year.