Airports have started feeling the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic, following low air traffic and cancellation of hundreds of flights across the world. The growing crisis to keep businesses running amid the coronavirus outbreak is now making airports lay off workers. In the US, a number of airports have already started slashing jobs, as a result of low air traffic and passenger movement owing to cancellation of flights.
The Codid-19 outbreak has made governments impose travel restrictions with many countries even going on complete lockdown. This has resulted in grounding of the complete feel of several carriers. At the same time, this has given rise to a new problem that of providing parking space to these aircrafts.
Airports start downsizing
With fewer planes flying and a number of security staff now testing positive, airports are contemplating closing terminals and checkpoints. Texarkana Regional Airport will lay off five employees effective today, following the Covid-19 outbreak. Airport Director Paul Mehrlich said that the airport is estimated to lose around $400,000 in operating revenue this year. Global Miami Joint Venture and Airport Concessions Group, the concession vendors of Miami International Airport have together laid off 758 workers.
Also, Orlando International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport have taken similar measures and are slashing jobs following the Covid-19 outbreak. New York City's LaGuardia International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, which house a large number of restaurants, too have laid off workers. The restaurants and stores which are staffed by OTG in these two airports, has so far laid off 1,200 workers, following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Airports grappling with other crisis
One of the biggest problems being faced by airports in US is to provide parking space to hundreds of aircrafts that have been grounded following the coronavirus outbreak. According to Reuters, Orlando International Airport are contemplating converting construction site for a runaway into a temporary parking lot for the grounded jets. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta is also facing similar crisis with more than 30 jets parked there.
At the same time, a large number of airport staff has also started testing positive for COVID-19. So far, 29 U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening officers across different airports in the US have tested positive for coronavirus in the past two weeks. Airports are hoping for a $10 billion aid from the government as part of the massive coronavirus stimulus package that is likely to get passed on Friday. The stimulus deal includes a $3 billion aid for 125,000 contracted airport workers.