New research commissioned by Unite the union has revealed that Stansted airport is critical to the economic welfare of Eastern England.

Stansted airport is the biggest single site employer in Eastern England. There are 1,765 people directly employed by the airport, with over 10,200 people working for nearly 200 companies based at the airport.

Unite is warning that without urgent action by central government to stabilise the aviation sector, jobs dependent on Stansted 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 Mark Barter said "Airports are hives of economic activity. Stansted is the biggest single site employer in Eastern England. It 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 Eastern England 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 the clock is ticking. 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 Stansted for jobs and their prosperity cannot wait much longer.

“Given flight schedules are looking to resume in some capacity next month and with business being kept in the dark officially about having to part fund furloughed workers, Unite is expecting announcements on job losses almost imminently. Therefore it’s absolutely vital that the government steps up quickly to give assurances to the aviation industry in order to avert an economic and social disaster for our region.”

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.