AVIATION professionals have shared strong words after the chief executive of Gatwick said about 40 per cent of employees would have lost their jobs by the end of this month.

Stewart Wingate told BBC South East Today the airport would operate at less than 15 per cent capacity during the winter months and it would take up to five years for the site to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus crisis.

Thousands of jobs in aviation have been cut already as demand plummeted following the introduction of the national lockdown and travel restrictions earlier this year.

Virgin Atlantic has announced more than 4,000 job cuts, while British Airways said it would be slashing more than 8,000 roles.

The national airline has also moved all short-haul flights to and from Gatwick to London Heathrow instead.

Aviation Job Search, an online job site for those in the industry, anonymously interviewed 384 aviation professionals to gauge their feelings on the impacts of Covid-19. Of those interviewed, 48 per cent were unemployed and 11 per cent were furloughed.

Eighty nine per cent said they were concerned for their future in aviation, and 86 per cent said the government could be doing more to help the industry back to its feet.

Oone licensed engineer said they had applied for more than 50 jobs without success. They said: “My career income has gone completely. My life is nil, nothing, worthless. I can’t really tell you how I feel. Someone, somewhere has ruined my life completely.”

Another worker, a self-employed aircraft technical instructor, said work had dried up completely and they had not had any income for nine months.

Another said: “I lost the job I loved due to the pandemic.

“I’ll never find a job that fits me so well. It is also very difficult to predict if one day I will be able to return to my old position.

“Although I try every day, the uncertainty is immense.”