More than 1,300 baggage handlers and ground crew were laid off last week across Florida’s major airports.
In Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice (WARN) filings with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Swissport International, which provides airport ground and cargo handling services, said temporary layoffs were being instituted for workers at Miami International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and Orlando International Airport. Swissport is based in Switzerland and is owned by a Chinese firm.
At MIA, 837 workers are affected. At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, 103 are affected. Orlando has 402 affected workers.
“COVID-19 has immensely impacted air travel globally in the past few months,” Swissport said in its filing. “Many flights have been canceled and multiple international carriers have suspended operations. Due to the cancellation of these flights, Swissport is unable to sustain [its] workforce.”
Air travel has been reduced to a trickle across the U.S., with TSA check-ins, a proxy for airport traffic volumes, at just one-quarter of where they were this time a year ago.