Newcastle Airport set to temporarily stand down staff

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Newcastle Airport is facing job cuts after applying to the Industrial Relations Commission for orders to temporarily stand down staff.

About a quarter of its 59 employees are set to be affected, while others may have to cut back their hours.

In a media statement, Newcastle Airport Chief Executive Dr Peter Cock said the cuts were a part of “necessary changes to ensure a viable business in the long-term”.

“As a business and an industry, we find ourselves in unprecedented circumstances,” he said.

“Therefore, we have applied to the Industrial Relations Commission for orders allowing us to temporarily stand down workers due to the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our business.”

The first mention of these measures occurred yesterday and, according to the airport, are happening because the business has been unsuccessful in securing JobKeeper funding, despite its best efforts.

“This is something we hoped we would never need to consider; however, the ongoing economic impact of closed borders has made our situation untenable,” Dr Cock said.

“Our passenger traffic and related income have been decimated since late March, however, to date, we have managed to keep most of our permanent staff employed throughout the pandemic.”

He added that, in the short-term, it could not continue and, while the airport had a big impact on the region, it was not a large company in terms of workforce.

“Our staff are an incredibly important part of who we are, which makes this course of action particularly difficult to take,” he said.

“However, our responsibility is to ensure we have a strong viable airport to service our region well into the future.

“We remain confident about tourism in our region and the ambitious plans we have for the airport.

“This news is also a timely reminder of the need for the government to invest in the aviation industry.”