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Manchester airport to host aviation workers on Travel Day of Action

Aviation workers are to hold a demonstration at Manchester Airport as part of the travel industry’s sector-wide Day of Action.

An industry alliance is demanding sector-specific support for the travel industry as it continues to face the impact of Covid-19 as travel has been left largely on hold with a limited green list.

Cabin crew, pilots, airport firefighters, ground handlers and some travel agents will be at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 3 from 12:30pm.

It coincides with planned lobbies in London, Edinburgh and Belfast.

The “socially-distanced protest” has been organised by union Unite with Manchester Airport Group, with representatives of pilots’ union Balpa, the North West TUC, the Business Travel Association, Clarity Business Travel and other aviation organisations expected to attend.

Andrew Western, leader of Trafford council, is also expected to show.

With the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) due to finish at the end of September, there is a growing concern that the aviation sector is facing a cliff edge and, unless urgent action is taken, huge job losses are inevitable.

Unite has three asks of government:

  • Transparency in the government’s traffic light scheme so the industry can better understand how criteria is being applied to the data in ministerial decision making.
  • Extra funding or resources when travel is opened up to avoid operational challenges such as long queues at check in and arrivals, and the mixing of passengers from countries on different traffic light lists.
  • Sector-specific extension to furlough so aviation can survive into 2022 without more redundancies, pay cuts and collapses.

Unite regional officer Mike Gaskill said: “Aviation workers at Manchester and across the UK are crying out for government support and assistance.

“The sector is in an even deeper crisis as a direct result of government policy.

“The recent decisions about the traffic light system have destroyed any chance of a successful summer season, the time when the sector makes its profits.

“Unless the government takes immediate action then it is inevitable that there will be further large scale job losses, route closures and even company collapses.

“Aviation is essential for the long-term financial success of the UK economy but in order for a viable sector to survive it has to receive short and medium term support from the government.”

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