New research commissioned by Unite the union has identified the extent that Luton airport is critical to the local economy.

Over 27,000 jobs are sustained by the airport, including 9,400 direct jobs and 7,700 indirect jobs. Workers directly employed at the airport account for 10 per cent of employment in the borough of Luton. In total 77 per cent of employees at the airport live in the three counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

For the three counties area the airport contributed £732 million to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and for Luton alone this was worth £533 million.

Unite is warning that without urgent action by central government to stabilise the aviation sector, jobs dependent on London City airport, including crew, ground staff, engineers and associated retail, transport and other roles, will be swept away.

Unite has produced a blueprint of how the government should intervene across the entire aviation sector including airlines and airports to protect the jobs and conditions of workers. Such loans would come with strict strings attached regarding executive pay, corporate governance and requiring strict environmental standards to be adopted to radically improve the industry’s carbon footprint.

Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge said "Airports are hives of economic activity. Luton airport supports the jobs and livelihoods of thousands, from air crew to taxi drivers to shop staff.

"If these jobs go then a huge economic hole will open up right across Luton, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire and it could take decades to recover.

"Overnight, airports were effectively shutdown by the government to protect the public's health but we are now pleading with ministers to protect our area's long-term economic security.

"We are not asking for a giveaway but for loans that will be repaid when the sector is back on its feet, and we have support for this from across the political spectrum.

"But time is running out. It is more than two months since the chancellor promised that a support package would be forthcoming for aviation but he has yet to deliver. The communities that rely on Luton for jobs and their prosperity cannot wait much longer.”

Unite is calling on everyone whose work is connected to the airport or who is concerned about its future to email their MP and call for support for the airport and the UK’s entire aviation sector.


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.


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