Future of Southampton airport crucial to areas economic welfare

New research commissioned by Unite the union has revealed that securing the future of Southampton airport is crucial to the economic wellbeing of the local economy.

Unite found that Southampton airport generates £161 million per annum for the local economy

Approximately 200 workers are employed directly by the airport with a further 950 workers located on the airport’s campus.

The union is warning that without urgent action by central government to stabilise the sector, workers employed as crew, ground staff, engineers and in all the associated retail and transport jobs 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 Southampton may need a different ownership model in order to flourish, with public ownership or a public private partnership being an alternative.

Unite regional officer Chris Gray said “Airports are hives of economic activity. Southampton airport pumps £161 million into the local economy, supporting the jobs and livelihoods of scores of workers, from ground staff and security officers to tax drivers and shop staff.

“If these jobs go then a huge economic hole will open up in the Southampton 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 but he has yet to deliver. The communities that rely on Southampton for jobs and their prosperity cannot wait much longer.”

Unite is calling on everyone whose work is connected to the airport or who is concerned about its future to email their MP and call for support for the airport and the UK’s entire aviation sector.

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