Unemployment Pandemic Piling Pressure On Airport Workers

by Ranjit Shergill
Ghost Town

The questions lingering on many people’s minds are, how are airlines going to survive the pandemic, when will airport passenger traffic reach the record levels of 2019, how much more will an air fare be post Covid-19. Such uncertainties have led to the unwanted reality that the unemployment levels of airport workers have exceeded the unemployment rate across the United Kingdom.

To illustrate this, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for ‘The Future of Aviation’ research found that the number of claims for unemployment benefit of airport workers increased by 145% between January 2020 and January 2021, compared to a national increase of 112%.

Empty Airports

Absence Of Airport Personnel Is Becoming An Unwelcome Norm | © The Guardian

Unemployment Benefits Most Pronounced In The South-East

Given that many of the UK’s mainstream airports are in the South-East of England, this has correlated to the highest level of unemployment benefits claims by airport workers within the past 12 months. By way of example, the London Borough of Hayes & Harlington, that has close proximity to Heathrow Airport, witnessed a 221% increase, whilst the Borough of Crawley, that is a stone throw away from Gatwick Airport, witnessed a 224% increase. Furthermore, Saffron Walden, which is in the vicinity of Stansted Airport, witnessed a 228% rise.

Hopes Lie On Budget Bailout

On Wednesday 3rd March, The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will announce the budget for the forthcoming fiscal year. As such, further pleas have been prevalent from Henry Smith, the Chair All-Party Parliamentary Group, for greater financial support to the aviation industry.

He said, “Our aviation, travel and tourism industries have been devastated by the near total collapse in passenger numbers and our airport communities have borne the brunt of this. With continuing travel restrictions adding further delay to aviation’s recovery, without a continuation of the job retention scheme, we run the very real risk that these figures will continue to increase.”

Indeed, the aviation industry will hope that the motto of ‘First and Foremost For Furlough’ is evident in Wednesday’s budget announcement.

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