Unprecedented cross sector alliance demands Covid-19 support due to the government’s failure to provide assistance to sector  

Aviation organisations from all parts of the industry will join together at a demonstration at Manchester Airport this week as part of an urgent call for the government to take action to help the industry survive the pandemic.

WHEN: 12:30 on Wednesday 23 June

WHERE: Terminal 3 Manchester Airport, M90 1QX

Cross party protest

The strictly socially distanced protest, which has been organised by Unite, the UK’s leading aviation union, in conjunction with Manchester Airport Group, will also include representatives of pilots' union BALPA, the North West TUC, the Business Travel Association, Clarity Business Travel and other aviation organisations still to be confirmed.

Andrew Western the leader of Trafford council will also be in attendance at the demonstration.

Workers in attendance

Workers from a variety of aviation professions including cabin crew, pilots, airport firefighters and ground handler and travel agents will be available for interview either at the demonstration or in advance.

The Manchester Airport demonstration is being held to coincide with a lobby of parliament being organised by trade association Airlines UK and there are also similar protests being held in Belfast and Edinburgh, with virtual protests in Cardiff.

Devastated by Covid-19

Aviation has been more affected that any other sector of the economy since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the rest of the economy is slowly emerging from lockdown and ensuring that workers can return to the workplace, the aviation industry is currently placing even greater numbers of staff on furlough, as a direct result of government policies.

With the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) due to finish at the end of September there is a growing concern that the aviation sector is facing a cliff edge and unless urgent action is taken, huge job losses are inevitable.

Policies needed

Unite is calling on the government to act to introduce three policies which will dramatically improve the industry’s prospects:

  • Transparency – in the government’s traffic light scheme so that the industry can better understood how the criteria is being applied to the data in ministerial decision making.
  • Logistics – when aviation does open up, funding/resources is needed to avoid operational challenges. For example, how long queues at check in whilst passengers are showing their proof of vaccination and test results can be avoided, and how big queues at arrivals and the prospect of mixing passengers from different countries will be dealt with.
  • CJRS – Sector specific extension so that aviation can survive an increasingly bleak looking summer and autumn and still exist into 2022 without more redundancies, pay cuts and even company collapses.

Crying out for support

Unite regional officer Mike Gaskill said: “Aviation workers at Manchester and across the UK are crying out for government support and assistance.

 “The sector is in an even deeper crisis as a direct result of government policy.

 “The recent decisions about the traffic light system have destroyed any chance of a successful summer season, the time when the sector makes its profits.

 “Unless the government takes immediate action then it is inevitable that there will be further large scale job losses, route closures and even company collapses.

 “Aviation is essential for the long-term financial success of the UK economy but in order for a viable sector to survive it has to receive short and medium term support from the government.”


Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.