Virgin are closing their hub airport at Gatwick. This is very bad news for those who work in and near the airport. Virgin has been a mainstay there for decades and their HQ is down the road in Crawley. In short this could be the end of Virgin Atlantic, although the owners must be hoping it can limp on in reduced form until the airline industry recovers.
British Airways last week said they were also considering closing Gatwick as a hub. BA management have hated Gatwick for years and never made any money there, the Unions pressured them into keeping it open and now they have the chance to focus on Terminal 5 at Heathrow where they are profitable.
Norwegian had overtaken Virgin at Gatwick in terms of transatlantic flights but they are in bankruptcy and negotiating with their creditors. Perhaps they will not come back tof life post Covid-19 anyway?
Thomas Cook and Flybe have already gone bust pre-Covid. This leaves Gatwick very reliant on Easyjet and Ryanair for sustainability. A rought estimate though is that it is about to lose 30% of long-term slot holdings and up to 50%. There won't be many takers for these after Covid for a while.
I can see Gatwick having to suspend activity altogether at one of it terminals for cost saving purposes after the crisis and potentially for the longer-term.
On the basis of so much excess capacity we can stop worrying about Heathrow expansion for a few more years yet (the court case was lost anyway so that was on a backburner in any event).
Airports are money making machines but they have huge safety and logisitcal demands placed on them. They have not had to adpat as now within living memory. Smaller regional aiports that have suffered like this have quickly closed. Perhaps the national infrastructure vision of the Government will force them to do some kind of bail-out to keep services running.
But there are going to be a lot of demands on Government funds and the greenies will be keen to claim an airport scalp for their mis-guided climate change agenda. One to watch.