Finance Finance News Markets & Shares Airport flags job losses as virus sends it into the red

Airport flags job losses as virus sends it into the red

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Coronavirus travel restrictions left Sydney Airport nearly empty for months. Photo: AAP
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Sydney Airport will cut costs and debt and has warned jobs could be lost as the coronavirus pandemic hit its bottom line, forcing it into the red.

Australia’s most active airport on Tuesday reported a net loss of $53.6 million for the first half of this calendar year – a dramatic turnaround from a profit of $17.3 million for the same time in 2019.

First-half revenue was $511.0 million, down 35.9 per cent as cash flow from aeronautical fees, retail and parking fees declined.

While the year started well, passenger volumes slumped by 56.6 per cent to 9.4 million people as COVID-19-related restrictions on travel began to be implemented from February.

International passenger numbers are down 57.3 per cent and domestic traffic down 56.1 per cent.

“Six months into the pandemic, there remains uncertainty as to how long it will take for aviation markets to return to pre-COVID-19 levels,” chief executive Geoff Culbert said.

Sydney Airport said its operations would continue to be affected while domestic and international travel restrictions remained in place.

It’s still aiming for a 35 per cent reduction in operating costs by April 2021 and again warned of potential job losses.

“The staff job guarantee will regretfully not be extended beyond 30 September 2020 and a review is currently underway to restructure the organisation,” it said.

Under the guarantee, Sydney Airport promised earlier in 2020 to retain the jobs of its 500 employees for six months.

Also on Tuesday, the airport announced a $2 billion equity raising. It will use the proceeds to cut its debt bill to $7 billion.

“At this time, no distribution is expected to be declared for 2020,” it said.