Friday 15 May 2020 / 10:35 PM Jim McMahon / Transport

Labour calls on the Government to provide a robust plan that protects jobs in the aviation sector and sets clear commitments on climate change

Labour has called on the Government to act quickly and put in place a support package for the aviation sector which must include robust environmental conditions to aid a transition to a green economy.

Learning from international examples, the Government must require that any bailout packages given to aviation companies can only be granted on the condition that a clear climate plan, consistent with the Paris agreement, is in place and that companies have set out clear conditions to protect workers.

1.6 million jobs depend on the UK’s aviation sector. In recent weeks, Virgin Atlantic, Ryan Air and British Airways have all announced job cuts.

Labour is clear the aviation sector must become environmentally sustainable, however, to protect against short term unemployment and help stimulate that change the Government must take action now to ensure long term needs are met.

Labour has called for any Government bailouts to have the following conditions:

  1. Jobs are protected. Staff salaries are protected with a clear commitment to workers’ rights.
  2. There is a clear commitment to tackling climate change and for the industry to use cleaner fuels and other cutting-edge low or zero emission technologies.
  3. Any company in receipt of money must ensure their tax base is in the UK.
  4. No dividends should be paid until the company is proven to be commercially viable, as we have seen in other countries.
  5. A commitment to pay UK based suppliers as a priority.
  6. All operators fully comply, without delay, with all consumer right regulations –  particularly with regards to giving full refunds and that they offer customers the opportunity choose the greenest flight option.

Jim McMahon MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said:

“The aviation industry is critical to the UK and we must ensure it has the best possible chance to survive and contribute towards our economic recovery. We must transform our economy to tackle the climate emergency, that includes protecting jobs now so they can be reskilled in the future.

“At such a critical time for the country, businesses should be doing all they can to protect jobs, as well as protecting the environment as we plan for the future.

“The Government must act now to ensure a robust plan is in place to protect jobs in the sector and set clear commitments to help tackle the climate emergency.”


Notes to Editors


  1. Commenting on Labour’s call Chris Venables, Head of Politics at Green Alliance, said: “It is absolutely right that we build the foundations of a green economic recovery into plans to support the aviation industry. With time running out to prevent the worst of climate breakdown, and all the uncertainty and risk that it brings, putting strict time-bound decarbonisation conditions on support for high-carbon industries is common-sense. We look forward to working with politicians across the political spectrum on this issue over the coming weeks and months – and welcome Labour’s engagement at this important time.”
  2. Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said: “GMB wholeheartedly supports Labour’s aviation strategy. We are currently seeing airlines, like BA, behave in a deeply opportunistic and cynical way by using the current crisis to rip up pay and conditions, meanwhile aviation employers are having behind closed door discussions with the Treasury about bespoke financial packages. Workers, their families and regional economies are not taking centre stage in these discussions and they must if a recovery is to be meaningful.”
  3. Oliver Richardson, UNITE National Officer for Civil Air Transport, said: “We welcome the proposals which are very much in line with those put forward by Unite, and endorsed by our aviation representatives and members. Most importantly the package of support outlined is both socially responsible and for the whole sector. It also ensures that not only will the UK remain at the forefront of global aviation, but that it will become a leader in tackling climate change in the industry.”