Unite the union, which represents 68,000 aviation workers, believes that the UK government has an immediate ‘moral duty’ to provide financial support to the sector following its decision to introduce quarantine requirements on people entering the UK.
The decision to introduce the quarantine rule at a time when many airlines were beginning to gear up to begin flying again, is a clear case of a government policy directly delaying an industry’s ability to recover from the pandemic.
The aviation sector was already one of the most severely affected parts of the UK’s economy as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unite and the vast majority of the airline industry has additional concerns over the absence of published medical evidence for quarantining is lacking, especially in relation to countries where the infection rate of Covid-19 is far lower than in the UK.
Unite believes that the government should be introducing measures to restore confidence in the industry and encourage people to begin flying again.
These could include: the creation of so-called air bridges with countries with low infection rates, the introduction of effective track and tracing all of which will help to all of which help to generate confidence and will boost a return to flying.
Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “Covid-19 is the greatest challenge the aviation sector has ever faced and the government’s introduction of quarantine further adds to it.
“This only reinforces the fact that the government has a moral duty to support the aviation industry during this time of crisis, as it has promised to do on numerous occasions.
“While we are not questioning medically based measures, Unite is supportive of positive measures such as air bridges and effective track and tracing all of which help to generate confidence and will boost a return to flying.
“The aviation sector is crying out for an integrated plan a financial support programme to get it back on its feet and is looking to the government for that leadership.”
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 stringent environmental standards to be adopted to radically reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.