New research, commissioned by Unite the union, has revealed that securing the future of Bristol airport is crucial to the wellbeing of the regional economies of Wales and the South West.
Bristol airport generates £1.3 billion per annum for South Wales and the South West of England and supports around 15,000 jobs.
Unite is warning that without urgent action by central government to stabilise the aviation sector, jobs dependent on Bristol airport, including crew, ground staff, engineers and associated retail, transport and other roles, will be swept away.
Unite has produced a blueprint of how the government should intervene across the entire aviation sector, including airlines and airports, to protect the jobs and conditions of workers. Such loans would come with strict strings attached regarding executive pay, corporate governance and requiring strict environmental standards to be adopted to radically improve the industry’s carbon footprint.
Unite regional officer Tim Morris said: “Airports are hives of economic activity. Bristol airport pumps £1.3 billion into the economies of the South West and Wales, supporting the jobs and livelihoods of scores of workers, from air crew to taxi drivers to shop staff.
“If these jobs go then a huge economic hole will open up in the Bristol area and it could take decades to recover.
“Overnight, airports were effectively shut down by the government to protect the public’s health, but we are now pleading with ministers to protect our area’s long-term economic security.
“We are not asking for a giveaway, but for loans that will be repaid when the sector is back on its feet, and we have support for this from across the political spectrum.
“But the clock is ticking. It is more than two months since the chancellor promised that a support package would be forthcoming for aviation, however he has yet to deliver. The communities that rely on Bristol airport for jobs and their prosperity cannot wait much longer.”