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8 regional airports at risk in wake of Flybe collapse

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05 Mar 2020
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Eight regional airports face closure in the wake of the Flybe collapse, GMB Union has warned.

Between them, the airports directly employ at least 1,000 people. Those direct jobs support at least a further 794 jobs in the supply chain and wider economy.

The true figure is likely much higher as reported figures only cover direct employment by airports’ owning entities.

The airports are deemed at risk because more than 50% of their scheduled departures in 2019 were Flybe aircraft.

- Data not held. * * Highlands and Islands Airport Limited employs 620 people, not broken down between airports
GMB analysis of Companies House filings and ONS Input-Output employment multipliers. Flybe flights information taken from Cirium data.


GMB, the union for airport staff has called on the Government to implement a five-point regional airport rescue plan:

  • An explicit commitment to take whatever steps are required to enable all regional airports can function and survive throughout the coronavirus crisis and beyond
  • Emergency financial support for directly and indirectly affected workers to prevent hardship and protect livelihoods
  • Subsidies for socially necessary routes to secure vital regional connectivity
  • Additional funding for surface transport links (rail and road)
  • Support for local authorities with funding for airport development plans (including for municipal ownership where locally supported)

Previous Chancellor Sajid Javid had previously pledged to “level up” regional economic performance in next week’s Budget – before his surprise departure from Government last month. 

Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said:

“GMB is calling on the Government to step in and protect the regional airports. These hubs are vital parts of the UK economic infrastructure that communities and regional economies rely on. Without them economic disparities will widen, but now they face closure.

 “Those workers directly affected by the collapse of Flybe and in the supply-chain need financial support to prevent hardship and protect livelihoods.

“We urgently need subsidies for socially necessary routes, funding for transport links and support for local authorities who want to develop airport plans.

“Other airlines have said they will pick up the domestic routes in the wake of Flybe’s collapse - what is the Government doing to do?

“Aviation jobs and supply chain jobs in airports offer decent jobs in struggling regional economies where gig economy jobs are becoming the norm. Ministers have previously promised the levelling up of regions but are instead presiding over a race to the bottom.

“We will be working with our members and employers to ensure our jobs are protected during this dangerous moment for regional aviation.

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