Aviation communities are often forgotten in discussions around airports and airlines, but they have been hugely impacted by the decline in activity brought about by Covid-19. Across the country, thousands of jobs have already been lost and hundreds of thousands of livelihoods are at risk, and those affected are often the least able to respond. These issues need to be debated and solutions found to provide immediate support, whilst ensuring that as the aviation sector starts to recover, there’s still a workforce on the ground to get it flying again.
A Summit was held on November 24th 2020 to discuss the issues at the forefront of this campaign. More details of the online event can be found on ‘The Summit’ page of this website.
This was prompted by the results of an Oxford Economics Report commissioned by the Council. The report outlines the stark impact and hardships communities across the region are facing due to the reduced activity of Heathrow Airport.
However, this isn’t an issue isolated to West London. Many sub-regional economies are significantly dependent on aviation. Whilst public opinion is varied on the activity of airlines, there is a lack of awareness around the reliance of communities on airports and their supply chains for their livelihoods and therefore the looming hardships they are likely to face.
To illustrate this, the Oxford Economics Report concludes that communities in Hounslow will see a loss of some 43,000 jobs in the years ahead, and this is felt particularly acutely amongst BAME and poorer communities. The cost to the local economy in Hounslow alone is likely to be in the order of £1bn in the years ahead.
This is now about survival for many families whose livelihoods depend on the sector and need help now, especially as Government support through the Job Retention Scheme ends in March 2021. Airports are not just about airlines.
Many aviation communities are amongst the most deprived in England. It is imperative that these communities are supported to prevent rising unemployment from spiralling into homelessness, with the associated impact on children and families, mental health, and wellbeing.
Communities across the country are facing difficulties in responding to the pandemic. Aviation communities are feeling this particularly so and the sector and its supply chain are amongst the hardest hit and least likely to recover at pace. This necessitates a common response from those areas home to aviation and requires targeted investment and support from Government now. Collective voices are more powerful than lone voices and that is why we must now to come together to work collaboratively with each other and Government in pursuit of solutions.
Together, we can support aviation communities from the ground up and ensure they are not forgotten.