Only nine commercial flights a week are leaving London Southend Airport, as the global coronavirus pandemic continues to crush the travel industry.
Stobart Group (STOB.L), which owns London Southend, said on Monday that Wizz Air and Loganair are the only carriers still operating flights out of the airport — and even they are running reduced schedules.
Wizz Air is flying only three times a week to Bucharest, while Loganair is flying three times a week to both Derry and Aberdeen.
The reduced schedule is in stark contrast to the airport’s usual operations. London Southend typically offers flights to 40 destinations and last year had an average of 5,500 passengers departing from the airport each day.
Many airlines have ceased operations since the coronavirus pandemic swept the world. At London Southend, 20 aircrafts are currently grounded, Stobart Group said.
London Southend has just “a skeleton airport staff,” Stobart Group said. The company, which also has an energy division, has furloughed around 750 staff under the government’s job retention scheme.
The slump in flights comes as the COVID-19 pandemic brings the global travel industry to its knees. Separately on Monday, Norwegian Air said passenger numbers slumped by 61% in March and the founder of easyJet warned his company could run out of money by August.
Around 1.7bn people are estimated to be under government-ordered lockdown around the world, according to the Guardian. Demand for air travel was already slumping prior to widespread lockdowns.
“The challenges presented by the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus have been significant,” Stobart Group chief executive Warwick Brady said in a statement. “However, I am immensely proud and humbled by the response of our people to this global crisis.”
Stobart Group’s board and senior leadership have agreed to take 20% pay cuts due to the coronavirus crisis and all bonuses have been delayed until at least August. The company is also cutting spending and “has utilised all measures made available by government to help conserve cash.”
While commercial flights have been hit hard, Stobart Group said logistics flights from London Southend were operating as normal.