Gatwick has announced plans to lay off almost a quarter of its employees, as the airport continues to deal with the impact of Covid-19.

Proposals could see up to 600 jobs go, equating to 24 per cent of the workforce at the south London airport.

Gatwick’s passenger numbers have been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, with August traffic set to be down over 80 per cent on the previous year. The airport is currently operating at just 20 per cent capacity, with all passenger flights operating from the North Terminal.

In May Virgin Atlantic announced plans to quit the airport, and British Airways is currently only serving a handful of long-haul leisure destinations from Gatwick.

Over 75 per cent of staff remain on the government’s Job Retention Scheme, which is due to end in October, and the airport has secured a £300 million bank loan to help see it through the crisis.

But chief executive Stewart Wingate warned that “If anyone is in any doubt about the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the aviation and travel industry then today’s news we have shared with our staff, regarding the proposed job losses, is a stark reminder”.

“We are in ongoing talks with Government to see what sector specific support can be put in place for the industry at this time, alongside mechanisms which will give our passengers greater certainty on where and when they can safely travel abroad,” Wingate continued. “This support will not only help Gatwick but the wider regional economy which relies on the airport.”

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff, those who have worked tirelessly to keep Gatwick open throughout the pandemic and those who have had to remain on furlough, for their dedicated tenacity, professionalism and team spirit. We will continue to do all we can to preserve as many jobs as possible.

“Gatwick will recover from this pandemic and we will emerge from the restructuring we are proposing a fitter and stronger organisation which is best placed to offer our passengers and our airlines a modern and innovative airport, ready for growth.”

The airport said that it would now enter into a formal consultation process with employees over the proposals.

In June Heathrow airport announced that its employment levels were “no longer sustainable”, and has begun the process of restructuring its frontline roles.