Copenhagen Airport begins sending home 1,500 staff as coronavirus hits

Copenhagen Airport is sending home more than half of its employees, 1,500 people, in the coming days, after air traffic ground to a near halt as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Copenhagen Airport begins sending home 1,500 staff as coronavirus hits
Copenhagen Airport chief executive Thomas Woldby said the airport's priority at present was managing the return of overseas Danes. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix
“We’re currently attempting to manage an entirely unusual and grave crisis situation for the airport,”  Copenhagen Airport chief executive Thomas Woldby said in a press release issued on Tuesday morning. 
“This is a serious situation, and we may come to a point where we’ll have to make such big cuts that it’ll permanently damage critical infrastructure.”
Passenger traffic has already fallen by 70 percent in recent days and is expected to drop further in the coming days and weeks as the pandemic deepens, the company said. 
For now, it said, its priority was managing incoming aircraft carrying Danish citizens who have heeded the government's call to return from abroad, and managing the new border restrictions. 
It has decommissioned two of its three runways, and is using the space to offer parking for “a high double digit” of aircraft which airlines have taken out of operation due to the crisis.  
He said that as well as his 1,500 staff, a high proportion of the 22,000 to 23,000 people employed in the airport's shops, restaurants, bars and cafés were also likely to be sent home. 
“Many of these shops and restaurants will close temporarily over the next few days,” the company said, with just a few asked to stay open to offer passengers at the airport a minimum service.  
As well as staff reductions, the company has put on hold most planned investments, cutting spending by up to 700m Danish kroner ($104m). 
Woldby said he welcomed the actions of Denmark's government and unions to strike a deal making it easier for companies to send employees home without dismissing them. 
“We welcome the solution presented by the government and the labour market parties involving wage compensation for employees,” he said. “It enables us to navigate the situation by taking a longer-term view and making a dedicated effort to avoid redundancies, while the crisis persists.” 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Copenhagen to miss 2025 zero emissions target

Copenhagen will not reach its longstanding target of becoming CO2 emissions neutral by 2025.

Cyclists on Copenhagen's
Cyclists on Copenhagen's "Lille Langebro" bridge. The Danish capital has admitted to errors in emissions calculations and says it won't be climate neutral in 2025, a long-standing target. Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash

A city councillor told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that the city, which has long stated its aim of becoming the world’s first CO2-neutral capital, would not meet that target as scheduled.

“I won’t need to stand there in 2025 and say ‘hurrah, we’re CO2 neutral’, because I know that CO2 will still be emitted (then),” elected representative Ninna Hedeager Olsen of the Copenhagen Municipality environment section told Jyllands-Posten.

Tourist board Visit Denmark has previously used the emissions goal to market the city, while Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen named the target during the C40 climate summit when it was hosted by Copenhagen in 2019.

But the municipality has included wind energy produced in other municipalities in its calculations on energy sustainability, according to the newspaper report.

This means it effectively still emits CO2 overall.

The company which supplies energy to the city, Hofor, has erected windmills in a number of municipalities outside of Copenhagen. But the electricity produced by these windmills has been used in calculations of CO2 emissions in both Copenhagen and in the municipalities in which the windmills are actually located.

The replication of the energy production in data for different locations can “rightly” be said to be “cheating the scales”, according to Hedeager Olsen.

But that is not the only problem in calculations of the city’s emissions, she also admitted.

“There are loads of things that haven’t been counted,” she said.

The goal to become climate neutral by 2025 was first set by the city in 2012 in a climate plan adopted by the city government.

Copenhagen was the following year awarded the Cities Climate Leadership award for the plan.