JOHN Menzies, the Edinburgh-headquartered airport service and support business, have revealed a shock profit warning after “disappointing” business, as shares fall by 17% in early trading on Friday.

The revelation came as bosses said trading across the business had reflected the “challenges that the wider aviation market is currently facing”. This is believed to be driven by a cut in flights and fewer customers sending cargo.

John Menzies operates many of the behind-the-scenes parts of airports, including air-side assistance and the refuelling of planes.

Chief executive Giles Wilson said: “The overall aviation market is having a difficult year. This inevitably is having an impact on our full-year out-turn.

“However, I firmly believe in the structural growth dynamics within our industry and all historical data points to recovery.”

He added that plans to cut costs by £10 million by next year are on track, with “a revitalisation of our commercial offering and a greater focus on returns from the deployment of our systems”.

Menzies said its board still believes that the medium and long-term prospects for the business are “sound” with the actions being taken in the current year underpinning its expectations for 2020.

The wider airline and holiday industry is already suffering, with travel firms particularly struggling. Holidaymakers have been putting plans on hold, with the original Brexit deadline in March said to have caused the uncertainty.

Menzies, in May appointed Swiss private equity fund manager Christian Kappelhoff-Wulff to its board and formed two new committees to consider strategic and structural options.

Menzies recently announced the renewal of a contract with Thai Cargo to provide cargo services to the Asian country’s flag carrier at five sites across Australia and New Zealand.

Menzie’s Aviation is a leading global provider of passenger, ramp and cargo services and operates at 219 airports in 37 countries and employs around 33,000 people.

Customers incluide Air Canada, Air FranceKLM, Cathay Pacific, US airlines Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, EasyJet, Emirates, german airline Lufthansa, Air Canada, China Airlines and many more.

Each year its estimatedthe company handles 1.4 million flights and 1.6m tonnes or cargo with around 1,000 customers worldwide.

The business traces its roots back to a bookshop founded in 1833 in Edinburgh Princes Street. The store began selling The Scotsman newspaper over the counter before Menzies went on to become famous in the UK for retailing and wholesaling.

In 1837 the publishers of Charles Dickens first novel called The Pickwick Papers, Chapman & Hall, appointed John Menzies as their Scottish agent to sell the famous authors monthly instalments.