News

‘Almost 62,000 UK aviation jobs lost since start of pandemic’

More than 5,000 UK aviation and related jobs have been lost every month since February 2020, new independent research shows.

This equates to twice the job losses in aviation and related industries than France and Germany in the past year, according to the Unite union.

The two European governments have given more than twice the financial support for every aviation and aerospace job than the UK.

New research produced by independent experts Acuity Analysis for Unite shows an estimated 5,164 UK monthly job cuts.

The results were released a year on from a pledge for a support package for the sector from chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The report estimates that 61,973 UK aviation and aerospace jobs have been lost in total, double the numbers lost in the equivalent sectors in France and Germany.

The shock to aviation will be felt further in local communities as every single aviation job supports 1.3 in the wider economy, including in hospitality and retail, according to Unite.

The union called on the government to play a leading role in the sector’s recovery as passenger numbers are entirely determined by the easing or tightening of state imposed travel restrictions.

This should include confidence-building measures for when travel is again possible, such as proactive ‘testing and tracing’ and reduced quarantining.

Customer-facing aviation workers should be considered as priority transport workers for vaccination when the programme targeting age and medical risk is completed.

Unite assistant general secretary for transport Diana Holland said: “It has been heart-breaking to see so many UK jobs go in aviation when we know that demand will come back.

“A staggering number of workers in the sector are now unemployed but when we look across the Channel, we see that a different approach from governments actually saves these jobs.

“All we are asking is that the government keeps to its promise. It has been a year since the chancellor promised a support package for UK aviation. This may now be ‘the final call’ for that support. Without it, this industry will not recover at the speed, nor on the scale of our competitors.

“This is also the time to invest in our air industry so that it is more resilient, able to weather future crises, and that it emerges from this crisis as a more climate-friendly mode of travel.”

Oliver Richardson, Unite officer for civil aviation, added: “This research confirms what we’ve been saying to the government for the past year; the sector needs targeted, intelligent support if we are to maintain this vital strategic infrastructure.

“Shedding jobs on this scale is not just a massive shock to the airport and aviation sector, but that the effects will be seen in high streets across the country as retail and hospitality suffer the knock-on effects of a shrunken industry.

“It is impossible to explain to aviation workers why the governments of France and Germany have moved to protect their jobs, but the UK government has not.  But it is not too late.  The UK government should step forward now with the package of measures that can kick-start an aviation recovery and benefit the wider economy.”

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.