Lifeline needed for aviation after Covid, says unions and management
THE British government is faced with fresh calls to throw the aviation industry a lifeline today as figures showed an 85 per cent plunge in 'air transport services' in the Covid crisis, reports London's Daily Mirror
30 December 2020 - 19:00
Planes were grounded when countries around the world announced unprecedented lockdowns to combat the spread of Covid. And aviation has failed to recover with thousands of redundancies announced and ongoing travel restrictions.
Official figures studied by the Prospect trade union show the value of 'air transport services' - flights - to the British economy dropped by 85 per cent in the 12 months from October 2019.
Aircraft repair and maintenance - vital to firms like Rolls-Royce which has an ongoing contract to service plane engines - dipped by 24 per cent. Aerospace manufacture, which includes companies like Airbus - which has bases in Bristol and Broughton, North Wales - fell by 16 per cent.
The falls in the aviation industry far outstrip those in the economy was a whole, with an overall eight per cent drop in GDP in the year to October - meaning the sector has been disproportionately hit.
Airports and airlines were forced to slash jobs as Covid tightened its grip on the globe and planes ground to a halt.
British Airways is in the process of cutting 13,000 posts, Virgin Atlantic has announced 4,300 job cuts and EasyJet is shedding up to 4,500 roles.
Said trade union Prospect's general secretary Mike Clancy: 'For months unions, including Prospect, have been calling for a specific support package for the aviation sector, but despite warm words the government has failed to deliver.
'Winter is traditionally the most difficult time for the aviation industry, with demand at its lowest in the early part of the year. The government must act now to support the whole sector - airports, air traffic control and the supply chain, as well as airlines,' he said.
Said Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade: 'Winter is traditionally a tough period for airlines at the best of times, and we know demand is going to be well down this year what with travel bans in place and a diminishing number of air corridors open.'
Said a government spokesman: 'We recognise the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of Covid-19.
'Protecting jobs is an absolute priority and the extension of the furlough scheme, as well as wider support through action on airport slots, loans and tax deferrals, will help businesses safeguard jobs during winter,' he said.
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