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London Southend Airport employees Speak Up for Travel

Join us as we #SpeakUpForTravel on 23rd June. Employees and businesses from across the aviation and travel industries are coming together to raise awareness of the challenges facing the travel industry and to ask the UK Government reinstate a risk-managed approach around a safe return to international travel and to think again about financial support offered to the sector. 

The travel industry is asking the UK Government: 

  • To allow international travel to return safely and in a risk-managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system, by expanding the ‘Green List’ in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, whilst keeping a strong red list to guard against variants.
  • Bring forward a package of tailored financial support, recognising that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy. 

Aviation is on the brink of losing another summer of travel as a result of the pandemic, at London Southend Airport, 2021 to June has seen just over 500 passengers compared to 650K during the same period in 2019.

Aviation directly contributes over £20 billion to the UK economy each year and pre-pandemic supported the employment of close to 1m people, yet it continues to be one of the worst affected. Many sectors have reopened and begun recovery whilst aviation continues to be one of the hardest hit with little support and currently no light at the end of the tunnel.

The current traffic light system resembles that of the travel corridors during 2020 but with far greater restrictions, uncertainty and cost implications. To open terminals and operate reduced schedules, often with limited passengers, simply increases pressure on an already struggling industry.

Significant investments into safety measures have been supported by airports at their own cost, often including dedicated private test facilities, yet we continue to await the promised ‘meaningful restart’ with little update or progress from the Travel Task Force.

The UK is falling behind other nations in its travel restart plans and risks becoming an outlier, undermining our Global Britain aspirations. As an island nation leading the way with vaccinations it seems nonsensical to continue to impose ongoing restrictions which lack clarity.

We have made clear recommendations as to how to begin recovery including support; from temporary suspension of APD and enhanced PSOs, to extended furlough schemes and bespoke airport funding.

We also need clarity around international co-operation on health passports to ensure that the remarkable progress made by the UK on its vaccination programme can lead to a rapid resumption in air travel, enabling the underlying demand for flights which undoubtedly exists to be satisfied. 

Demand to travel is evident, families overseas wish to reunite, holidays and well-deserved breaks are overdue, but behind this are the aviation families, the hardworking teams who are the glue holding together our industry in this challenging time.

The London Southend Airport team has been incredible, from supporting the cargo operations to ensuring that safety continues to be paramount for colleagues and passengers, they are the heart of the airport.

We stand together to raise awareness, encouraging the UK Government to reinstate a risk-managed approach around a safe return to international travel and to reconsider financial support offered to the sector. Trust in the vaccination roll out and provide clarity to rebuild and recover.

Organisers and supporters of the cross-industry day of action include ABTA, Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association, BAR UK, UKinbound, the Business Travel Association, IATA, Advantage Travel Partnership and the wider industry under the umbrella Save Future Travel Coalition, alongside unions GMB, Unite, BALPA and Prospect. 

Backing the travel industry now will help to position us to ensure we can act as a driving force in the long-term economic recovery of the UK. 

#TravelDayofAction #Speakupfortravel 

About London Southend Airport

London Southend Airport, ranked the best London airport by consumer group Which? six times and voted the best UK airport (under three million capacity) by the Airport Operator’s Association in 2019. 

Serving close to 2.3 million passengers in 2019, London Southend offered services to around 40 domestic and European cities. The terminal has its own railway station, less than 100 paces from the main entrance, with up to six trains an hour at peak times to central London, taking just 52 minutes to Liverpool Street and 43 minutes from Stratford. All airport car parks are located minutes from the terminal entrance.