Airline and travel industry faces 70,000 job losses due to coronavirus groundings

Airline and travel industry faces 70,000 job losses due to coronavirus groundings

Over the next two to three months, at least 70,000 jobs in the airlines industry will be on the line, according to an analysis from think tank New Economics Foundation (NEF), in collaboration with the TUC, aviation unions, and climate action charity Possible. Around 39,000 of those jobs at risk are in aviation, while the remainder are likely to be lost from supply chains, as coronavirus-hit companies face up to a global economic downturn.

Planes have been grounded since late March, as coronavirus spread across the globe. The industry faces further challenges in the UK, as quarantine rules for travellers kick in.

The new rules will ensure those entering the UK from certain destinations will self-isolate or face fines of up to £1,000.

The report suggests that without government help, the industry could cut up to 124,000 jobs.

It also suggests a workers’ bailout for the industry may be necessary, using the government’s job retention scheme to support those in vulnerable roles.

Alongside COVID, issues on the horizon for the industry include automation and the drive to reduce carbon emissions to slow down climate change.

Polling carried out by YouGov for Possible found that there is little public support for providing airlines with bailouts without conditions attached to ensure that they protect their employees.

It also showed that 13 percent of people thought that airlines should receive additional state financial support regardless of whether they make significant staff redundancies.

Alex Chapman, researcher at the NEF, said: “We must take lessons from [the 1980s] and the financial crisis in 07/08 and do a better job of protecting the wellbeing of workers and communities.

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According to the NEF, following the 2007/08 financial crisis, passenger numbers took around seven years to return to their pre-crisis level, but at that point, job numbers remained 17% below their pre-crisis peak.

At least 17,000 workers in the sector may need to permanently move into other areas, as a return to pre-crisis service us now unlikely due to service cutbacks, says the report.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the trades union congress (TUC), said: “Aviation is a critical part of our economic infrastructure and it supports tens of thousands of good jobs. The sector has already been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of the quarantine period is a further blow.

“We cannot consign these workers to the despair of unemployment.”

Published at Wed, 10 Jun 2020 17:33:00 +0000