The union Unite has called on the UK Government to deliver ‘urgent’ support to the aviation industry following Whitehall’s £1bn package for the hospitality sector.
Unite has urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help the industry weather the uncertainty caused by the Omicron variant, “so that it can rebuild sustainably and with resilience.”
“Since this crisis hit, Unite has been urging the government to act for the sustainable future of aviation, but chancellor Rishi Sunak and transport secretary Grant Shapps have failed to take the specific action needed for this strategically important sector,” said Unite’s assistant general secretary Diana Holland.
“The government has to provide support to give employees hope that they are securing a sustainable and more resilient future for this industry. It is wrong to leave thousands of workers with this level of insecurity and uncertainty.”
“Yesterday pubs, restaurants and cafés received a welcome support package to tide them over and something similar urgently needs to be on the table for aviation.”
Unite’s word echoed those of other industry stakeholders, including travel association ABTA that yesterday criticised the funding announcement.
“Travel agents, tour operators and travel management companies will rightly be asking why they haven’t been given the same treatment as other businesses that are suffering at this time,” said Luke Petherbridge, ABTA’s director of public affairs.
“As the sector approaches what should be the peak sales period for booking holidays for summer 2022, businesses are instead facing another round of heart-breaking and demoralising cancellations, with no indication that the government is listening to the challenges they are facing.”
On Monday, aviation trade body Airlines UK said that “offering more debt to a sector that has already borrowed billions of pounds is not sustainable.”
“We are approaching the key booking period for the year and consumer sentiment is shot to pieces, due to the testing requirements imposed on travel that can cost hundreds of pounds when free NHS tests are available in other sectors,” said the body’s chief executive, Tim Alderslade.