The welfare of pilots is vital to the aviation sector, and yet we have seen little to ensure their wellbeing.
The future of UK airports and airlines is in jeopardy, but instead of the support that is vital, there are forced redundancies and degraded terms of employment. Described in Parliament as immoral, opportunistic, greedy and bullying, they seriously demoralise a skilled workforce on which the whole sector depends.
Pilots operate complex integrated systems in today’s airliners, and have to both efficiently manage those, and possess the manual flying skills needed to deal with any event. Aviation has incredibly high safety standards and to maintain them, pilots must be supported in honing their skills regularly.
The United States and many European countries have allocated billions of pounds to their airlines. So far the UK government has given vast amounts to surface travel but little beyond “job retention” schemes to our airlines.
When flying re-starts in earnest, it is essential that we have pilots who can react effectively to any flying situation. To achieve this, the government must offer both financial aid to the aviation sector, and crucially ensure that the airlines support their employees and manage them fairly.
Captain J P Towell
Dear Secretary of State
With UK aviation at a tipping point there is real concern the UK will not have a sustainable aviation sector unless the Government provides the same consideration and priority given to other business sectors. Airlines will face a major financial challenge when flying re-commences with low passenger confidence.
Our economy relies on a thriving aviation industry, which is led by demand for passenger and cargo connectivity. Subsidised overseas competitors are poised to take over as UK airlines contemplate withdrawal from London airports. Following Brexit the scene is set for the collapse of the sector just as we most need to establish new dynamic trade links. General aviation is under threat, we must retain our network of smaller airfields and flying schools to serve future generations. It is vital the industry retains a highly skilled workforce to drive economic growth and help secure our place in the post-Brexit world.
Airliners provide higher air purity and confine passengers for less time than other transports. Airports are adapting check-in, security and boarding controls to current needs. We welcome the government’s consideration of quarantine-free air bridges for passengers entering UK.
All industries are suffering, we simply ask the government to give the UK aviation sector, which annually contributed over £52 billion and supported over 960,000 jobs before the pandemic, the attention it deserves. A powerful UK airline sector is essential for Britain to trade its way out of the post covid-19 recession.
Airlines need universal health protocols and clarity from the government - in other words a road map to normal with time estimates for the necessary milestones. Other nations, including the US and EU states, are investing now so their airlines survive to thrive in the future.
Captain J P Towell