The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has warned that up to 20,000 jobs are currently at risk at British airports due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The association arrived at this figure after analysing the situation at its member airports. Future airline scheduling and passenger numbers are also predicted to be considerably lower year-on-year.

AOA has urged the UK Government to extend support to the aviation industry to avoid the expected large-scale job losses at airports due to the impact of the pandemic.

AOA noted that only a small proportion of the airport workers are directly employed by airport operators.

More than 110,000 jobs are expected to be lost if other jobs across all UK airports and their local business communities are included.

In its latest statement, AOA proposed the government a number of actions to help protect jobs and support the sector in overcoming the crisis.

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By GlobalData

This includes the suspension of Air Passenger Duty (APD) for at least six months to stimulate increased airline activity and support for the airports with their employment costs beyond the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in October.

The association also sought relief from Business Rates payments for 2020-2021 in accordance with the relief granted to the hospitality and retail sectors, aiding companies’ cash flows.

It has also suggested replacing the existing quarantine policy with a risk-based proportionate approach that includes additional public health measures for passengers arriving from high-risk countries.

Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee said: “We face considerable challenges in recovering from the devastating impacts of Covid-19 and we are calling on the government to do much more and act with urgency to protect jobs in the aviation sector, many of which are highly skilled.

“These jobs figures clearly show that a key component of the UK’s infrastructure is on its knees, with no relief to the current crisis expected. The government needs to recognise the immense crisis facing the country’s airport communities and take action to support UK aviation and protect livelihoods.”