New research, commissioned by Unite the union, has revealed that securing the future of Newcastle airport is crucial to the wellbeing of the North East’s regional economy.
Newcastle airport generates £1.16 billion per annum for the North East economy and supports around 19,000 full time jobs, including 3,900 jobs linked directly to the airport’s operations.
Unite is warning that without urgent action by central government to stabilise the aviation sector, jobs dependent on Newcastle 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 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 Brian Cole said: “Airports are hives of economic activity. Newcastle airport pumps £1.6bn into the North East economy, supporting the jobs and livelihoods of thousands 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 Newcastle 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 government 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 Newcastle airport 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.