Although this announcement was made at the tail end of last week, with presence in the national media by Friday, This is Our Town Crawley & Gatwick feel the need to address this news, which will affect so many of our towns local residents.
As one of the countries largest Ground Handlers, Aviator handles roughly 60% of the airlines coming in and out of Gatwick- that’s everyone from Front of House Check in Agents and Passenger Services, to out on the Airfield; Operations controllers, Dispatchers, and Ramp agents. Following a turbulent few months for staff and management alike, the Scandinavian based company decided to withdraw completely from all 5 UK airports in operates in, and focus on its Nordic contracts instead.
This sad news comes just one year after taking over rival handling agent, Swissport.
On Wednesday a press release was issued, which stated:
“Aviator has undertaken a strategic review of its business and as part of this review, and in conjunction with its key stakeholders including its airline customers, the airports at which it operates and the employee unions, the group is looking to exit the UK ground handling market in order to focus on its core markets in the Nordic region.
“Aviator will look to complete this exit in or around the end of November 2016 through the orderly transition of services to other providers or via airline in-sourcing to support the needs of our customers and their passengers.
“The group will make further announcements in due course.”
To many of the companies employees this means an anxious few months of waiting, as contingency plans are put in place, and the airport works with Aviator and other handling agents to minimise job losses and cause as little disruption to the airport as possible. This has given some reassurance.
Already, new company Red Handling has emerged as a partner of Norwegian Airlines, and will be taking over the ground handling of Gatwick’s third largest carrier come D-Day on December 1st. It came be revealed that some Aviator staff are being TUPE-d over to Red Handling, but so far the newcomer has only committed to transferring across 120 of Aviators 800 Gatwick based staff.
This piece of news plays heavy on the hearts of many within Gatwick’s workforce, and residents of Crawley alike. This is Our Town would like to take this opportunity to let those employed by Aviator know that, as a media service, we will do our best to keep you updated with news regarding Gatwick and Aviators plans going forward, as and when we hear it. Despite this news, Aviator staff remain positive in their job security and opportunities moving forward. They continue to work hard, and are a credit to the company and to Gatwick Airport. I’m sure This is Our Town can speak for most resident’s when we say that our thoughts are with you all during this unsettling period. For now……………..Keep Calm and Carry on.