Hundreds of thousands of jobs in communities supported by the UK’s major airports are being placed at risk by a lack of government support for the sector, a cross-party political alliance has warned.
The group, comprising local and national politicians, will this week lobby government to further recognise the impact of the country’s travel restrictions on the aviation sector and those workers whose livelihoods depend on an operational aviation industry.
Conservative MP for Crawley, Henry Smith, whose constituency is home to Gatwick, and Labour leader of Hounslow Council, Steve Curran, whose local authority area covers Heathrow, on Sunday (22 November) issued a plea for an urgent "aviation communities fund", citing their experiences working with communities hit by the downturn in air travel.
In a piece written for The Guardian, Smith and Curran said more than 730,000 jobs reliant on Britain’s international and regional airports were "at risk from a prolonged downturn in air traffic".
They also stressed the communities serving Gatwick and Heathrow had "the awful distinction of heading the national league table for numbers of furloughed and unemployed", and warned that with around 40% of the two areas’ local workforces supported by the state by the end of the summer, the situation was "likely to worsen".