UK aviation ‘is in a death spiral,’ warns pilots’ union

Simon Calder
·1-min read
Troubled times: a Norwegian Boeing 787 at Gatwick airport (Simon Calder)
Troubled times: a Norwegian Boeing 787 at Gatwick airport (Simon Calder)

“UK aviation is in a death spiral,” the main pilots union has warned – calling the decline of airlines and airports “a disaster for the whole economy”.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) issued the warning in response to the latest round of proposed job cuts in aviation.

Norwegian is consulting with cabin crew and pilots over a reduction in its presence at Gatwick airport. Up to 259 jobs could be lost, nearly a quarter of the total Gatwick workforce of 1142. The proposals primarily affect short-haul crew.

The union’s general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: “This news is devastating for those affected.

"Balpa will do everything within its power to support its members, to avoid compulsory redundancies, reduce the number of employees to be dismissed and mitigate the consequences of any dismissals.

“If the government fails to act to support the sector, we will see more job losses as airlines are decimated.

“The government has let down the industry, its employees and the travelling public. UK aviation is in a death spiral and this is a disaster for the whole economy."

A spokesperson for Norwegian said: “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to severely impact our business and this prolonged crisis is far from over.

"These unprecedented circumstances that we now find ourselves in require us to review the London Gatwick crew base in line with current business needs and the associated costs going forward.

"We have entered into consultation with our crew colleagues and unions based in the in UK and will look to find common solutions and mitigate redundancies.”

The Independent has asked the Department for Transport for a response.

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