Gatwick increased government loan by £ 75 million over the past week to keep finances up during extended travel freeze
Gatwick Airport increased government borrowing by £ 75 million over the past week to keep finances up during the extended travel freeze.
According to documents seen by The Mail on Sunday, the latest funding means that Gatwick has borrowed £ 250 million under the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) program.
Gatwick filed for entry into the CCFF in August, saying at the time it was an emergency measure and hoping not to hit the money.
Grounded: Gatwick, owned by French VINCI airports and $ 71 billion in GIP fund, still has the option to access an additional £ 50 million under its £ 300 million CCFF facility
However, the lockdowns and travel restrictions have meant that Gatwick now has access to a total of £ 250 million – and 12 months to pay it back.
Gatwick, owned by French VINCI airports and $ 71 billion in GIP fund, still has the opportunity to access an additional £ 50 million under its £ 300 million CCFF facility.
A spokeswoman confirmed that the loan was included “to maintain liquidity and protect the company while there is ongoing uncertainty about the duration” of the current restrictions on air travel.
She added, “This loan gives the company some flexibility in case the state of international travel deteriorates further.”
Gatwick, Britain’s second largest airport, cut 600 jobs last year. It posted a pre-tax loss of £ 344 million for the six months to June as passenger numbers fell by two-thirds.
The airport currently only operates from the North Terminal, last week with only 20 to 30 flights a day, for about 1,000 passengers.
Before the pandemic, it was the world’s largest single-runway airport. But last year, passengers fell an average of 80 percent compared to 2019, as airlines scale back or cancel flights. And this month, Norwegian Air said it would close its long-haul base at Gatwick, making 1,100 staff redundant.
The Mail on Sunday understands Norwegian is now decommissioning its fleet of 35 Boeing 787 Dreamliner transatlantic jets, which will be sold or returned to leasing companies. Karen Dee, CEO of the Airport Operators Association, warned last week that airports may need to close temporarily. There is speculation that the UK’s borders could be closed completely this week.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said the restrictions could lead to several airlines going out of business.
Gatwick last night urged the government to announce “a comprehensive aviation support package”.
It added, “It is vital that critical national infrastructure, such as airports, can thrive and provide the international connectivity needed to keep Britain open to trade and business.”