New research, commissioned by Unite the union, has revealed that securing the future of Doncaster Sheffield airport is crucial to the economic wellbeing of the local economy.
Doncaster Sheffield airport generates £62 million a year for the Yorkshire economy and supports around 1,000 jobs. Development plans are anticipated to create 73,000 new jobs and provide £3.2 billion to the regional economy by 2048.
Unite is warning that without urgent action by central government to stabilise the aviation sector, jobs dependent on Doncaster Sheffield 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.
The blueprint also recognises that in order to secure their future, airports of the size of Doncaster Sheffield may need a different ownership model in order to flourish, with public ownership or a public private partnership being an alternative.
Unite regional coordinating officer Steve Clark said: “Airports are hives of economic activity. Doncaster Sheffieldairport alone pumps £62 million into the regional economy, 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 South Yorkshire 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 Doncaster Sheffield airport for jobs and their prosperity cannot wait much longer.”