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

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

About 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 staffing 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 warned at the end of September it was seeking to cut jobs in response to the slowing economy.

The aviation division operates at airports across the UK, including Heathrow, Stansted, Aberdeen, Manchester, East Midlands, Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow. It also has an office in Crawley, West Sussex.

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

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 £640.9m to £638.4m, while pre-tax losses widened from £8.2m to £16.1m.