The Confederation of Shipbuilding & Engineering Unions

Supporting aviation and aerospace jobs

1 June 2020 / Campaign | News

The aviation industry is facing the biggest crisis it has ever experienced. The impact of Covid 19 and its economic impact will be devastating for the industry and the thousands who depend on it.

The CSEU is launching a campaign asking Government to look beyond the headline job losses and take urgent action to sustain the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on Britain’s aviation industry which is the second biggest in the world.

Investment in the aviation industry isn’t about bailing out billionaires it’s about investing in a strategically important industry in order to weather the storm and be stronger and greener on the other side.

The 15,000 flight crew job losses announced at the start of the lockdown are just the tip of the iceberg. There are 157,000 working as ground crew, freight and terminal staff and a further 100,000 working in the aerospace manufacturing sector with over a million indirect jobs supported by airports.

Research commissioned by Unite the union highlights the vast economic contributions airports make to regional economies and details the devastating effect that closure of an airport, or severe reductions in activity, would have on the local area.  An estimated 1.2 million UK workers rely on aviation for their employment, many of them in the airports, airlines, retail, services and transport jobs associated with air travel.

The research details how Heathrow, the UK’s largest airport supports a total of 190,000 jobs across the UK and generates an income of £9.7 billion for the surrounding and national economy.  It also details the economic benefits of regional airports to local economies, for example Bristol airport indirectly supports 15,000 jobs in the South West and generates £1.3 billion, while Glasgow airport is another significant economic contributor, supporting 8,200 jobs and generating £590 million for the Scottish economy.

Northern Ireland is particularly reliant on air travel to ensure connectivity to the UK mainland but its two airports Belfast International and Belfast City are also major employers, supporting 4,000 workers who are directly employed at the airports.

Cardiff, the principal airport in Wales, directly and indirectly supports 2,600 jobs and generates £93 million for the local economy.

Studies have suggested that Gatwick and the local town of Crawley could be worst affected by lack of support for the aviation sector, the airport generates £2.7 billion for the South East and directly and indirectly supports 43,000 jobs.

But it is not just the larger airports that support local economies; smaller airports including Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Doncaster/Sheffield, Exeter and Southampton are all vital to their local economies.