Ground-handling company Swissport has disclosed plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs in the UK, three months after it joined other handlers in urging financial support for the sector.

The company says the number of aircraft operating is insufficient to maintain its full complement of staff.

“It is with regret that today we are taking steps to reduce the size of Swissport’s workforce,” states the company’s UK and Ireland chief executive Jason Holt.

He expects “upwards” of 4,000 personnel, out of a total of some 8,500, to leave.

In a joint statement, trade unions Unite and GMB put the total number of job losses at 4,556 and describe it as “devastating news”.

The unions are calling on the UK government to “urgently intervene with a bespoke financial package” and an extension of the 80% furlough scheme for the aviation industry.

Swissport’s revenue dropped 75% in May as flights ground to a halt because of the pandemic, says Holt.

“We are grateful for the help of government support schemes, which have allowed us to take the time to properly consider our position and do everything possible to work for solutions that will protect jobs,” he adds.

“But we now must adapt to the unfortunate reality that there simply aren’t enough aircraft flying for our business to continue running as it did before [coronavirus], and there won’t be for some time to come.”