Stansted Airport Chamber of Trade postpones forum because of coronavirus
Businesses at Stansted Airport are still coming to terms with the implications of the coronavirus crisis.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which operates the Uttlesford hub, has described the Covid-19 contagion as "the greatest threat the UK's travel sector has ever faced" and the base's biggest airline is cutting capacity 80% over the next two months and has not ruled out grounding its entire fleet.
Both Stansted and Ryanair have announced measures including enforced annual leave, reduced working hours, temporary pay cuts and temporary lay-offs to cut costs.
Their difficulties have repercussions for the entire airport where more than 12,000 people are employed across over 200 companies including more than 50 shops, cafes and restaurants in the terminal.
Stansted is the fourth largest airport in the UK, serving 28m passengers a year, and the market leader for short-haul flights to mainland Europe, serving 200 destinations across 40 countries – more scheduled connections to Europe than any other airport in the world apart from Munich. Passengers can also access Emirates' global network of over 150 destinations via daily direct flights to the airline's Dubai hub.
Chairwoman of Stansted Airport Chamber of Commerce Julie Budden summed up the uncertainty the on-site businesses are experiencing.
"It has been hard to get people to talk about anything specific, it appears to be a general consensus that it is too early to comment as things are continuously changing from day to day," she said.
"The Stansted Airport Chamber of Commerce is a networking/membership organisation whereby we put on key events throughout the year for members and non-members to attend and network within the business world.
"We attract businesses from across the region and due to the COVID-19 virus have had to cancel all events. One major event we organise is the Check-in @ Stansted Business Exhibition which was due to take place on April 23, St George's Day, at the Novotel London Stansted Airport.
"We have currently pencilled in a new date for this, September 17, however, will closely be monitoring the news and government guidelines throughout the next coming weeks and months.
"This is not an ideal situation for any of us to be in and very worrying for many organisations. However, we all must stick together and keep supporting each other's businesses whilst considering the health and wellbeing of our employees, colleagues and of course families and loved ones."
More by this authorSinead Corr