Belfast International Airport in Northern Ireland has reportedly decided to lay off 54 security workers as it continues to struggle from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unite the Union, which represents the affected workers, said that the workers have been notified of the redundancies by the airport’s security staff provider Wilson James.

The union also noted that the airport workers had thought they would be protected through the furlough scheme until the airport recovered its footfall.

BBC News quoted Unite’s George Brash as saying that this is only the latest in a string of job losses at Belfast International and City airports.

He added: “As Unite has repeatedly highlighted, there is now a serious threat hanging over the future of both airports as vital security workers, baggage handlers, check-in staff, cabin crew and pilots have been laid off.

“Once again, we call on Stormont political leaders to bring forward an aviation rescue strategy. Northern Ireland and these workers deserve better than continued inaction.”

The union said it will continue to engage with management at Wilson James to obtain the best possible outcome for the affected workers and to reduce further job losses.

It has also called for an aviation rescue strategy to safeguard the future of both the Belfast airports.

Commenting on the latest development, A Wilson James spokesperson said: “Throughout this public health crisis, we have prioritised transparent and ongoing dialogue. This includes weekly meetings with Unite the Union since late March 2020 and regular engagement sessions in which our aviation workforce can interact directly with our leadership team.

“Our chief priorities are therefore to reduce the impact of redundancies by working with employee representatives and union partners in a transparent and collaborative manner, and to continue to work with the whole of the Belfast community to provide a quality service to the passengers we serve.”

Meanwhile, large-scale job cuts are anticipated at airports around the world due to the impact of the pandemic on the air travel.

Last week, the Airport Operators Association in UK warned that over 20,000 jobs are currently at risk at British airports due to the impact of Covid-19.