Slowing Global Economy Forces John Menzies to Cut 1,200 Jobs; DISTRIBUTION: Losses to Be in Aviation Division

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Byline: ABIGAIL TOWNSEND

DISTRIBUTION group John Menzies is cutting 1,200 jobs around the world, it emerged yesterday.

The cuts will be in its aviation division, which has suffered from the slowing global economy and the September 11 terror attacks.

Around 200 jobs are expected to go in the UK and the reduction will bring the number of people working in the division worldwide down to 8,000 by spring 2002.

The aviation arm, based in the UK near Heathrow, provides a range of services including cargo handling.

But the slowing economy has led to a fall in the number of imports coming into the UK, a situation compounded by the events of September 11.

The global reduction in headcount will be through a mixture of voluntary and compulsory redundancies, although some jobs will go through natural wastage.

The group said, "Although painful, these actions are necessary and Menzies Aviation is poised to benefit rapidly from an expected upturn in activity levels in due course."

The group first warned at the end of September it was seeking to cut jobs in response to the slowing economy.

As well as cargo, the aviation arm provides a number of other services, from cleaning to baggage handling and ticketing.

Finance director Martyn Smith said the non-cargo part of the division had also suffered as passengers put off travel after September 11.

In the US and Canada, where the remaining job cuts will be, John Menzies operates at 15 airports along the west coast.

The update came as John Menzies posted figures for the 26 weeks to November 3.

The decline in the aviation arm meant group turnover dipped from pounds 640. …