A recent study by The Centre for Cities estimates that one in five jobs in areas where the local employment opportunities depend on the aviation industry, could be vulnerable due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It lists Crawley and Luton as likely to be the hardest hit as their other work opportunities are relatively limited.
This is an issue we have highlighted previously, that to determine the town’s whole economic and employment strategy on the airport and its supply chain, when aviation is known as being a fragile and cyclical industry, was a foolhardy and blinkered obsession of Luton Borough Council (LBC).
Councillors and their officers have long parroted airport expansion as being the sole means of reducing poverty and creating employment in Luton. They are also quick to tell of how fast the airport has grown in recent years and that further growth is essential.
Where are the figures to show that this growth has reduced the poverty in Luton, and boosted employment opportunity? We have not seen any figures to support this despite LBC claims?
Profit margins in aviation are slim; look at all the companies from airlines to ground handling agents who now seek financial aid to safeguard jobs. Jobs which are in the majority minimum wage, seasonal and/or zero hours contracts.
Airlines exist to make money; airports exist to make money from those airlines.
The workers within those and all the other complementary services are then squeezed in their Terms and Conditions to ensure those at the top of the chain safeguard their profit margins. This means the job security and wellbeing of staff is well down the pecking order.
We feel that for a fraction of the vast sums already spent by LBC on airport expansion projects, that money would have been better utilised providing varied and localised employment opportunity around the town where it is most needed, and not speculated on a site on its outskirts.
We believe that no more of the town’s money should be diverted to such projects, and that it is crucial that airport expansion spending should cease for the foreseeable future.
Stop Luton Airport Expansion