UNITED KINGDOM- During the UK’s busiest summer travel season post-pandemic, a recent study has emphasized the vital contribution of airlines based in the UK to employment and economic progress.
A report conducted by Steer, commissioned by Airlines UK, has delved into the strategic and economic influence of UK-based airlines on the nation’s economy.
The results emphasize the significant importance of establishing airlines within the UK, particularly regarding creating job prospects, boosting UK connectivity, and nurturing the potential for future economic expansion.
UK Airlines Staggering Support to Economy
The commencement of the UK school holidays marked the most bustling travel weekend since before the pandemic, witnessing over 2 million British citizens venturing abroad.
Simultaneously, the UK Border Force anticipates over 34 million air arrivals passing through the UK during the upcoming months. Most of these travellers are transported by airlines with operational bases at UK airports.
This recent study has highlighted that UK-based aircraft generate a value four times greater in terms of jobs and economic impact for the UK in comparison to aircraft serving the UK that are stationed at foreign airports.
Furthermore, considering that UK-based aircraft primarily cater to routes originating from regions and cities outside the South-East – where foreign carriers are less likely to operate – airlines in the UK furnish crucial connectivity and options for British travellers, businesses, and exporters.
This contributes to maintaining affordability for consumers and businesses and ensures essential choices for connectivity.
The report’s crucial findings highlight the following:
- Airlines that are members of Airlines UK, originating from the UK, possess a fleet of over 900 aircraft stationed and maintained within the country. This employs local individuals directly and generates job opportunities within the associated supply chains.
- UK-based aircraft substantially deliver most of the UK’s distinct international connections (73%), serving 85% of global and all domestic routes.
- Airlines holding a UK operating certificate transport nearly 800,000 tons of air cargo annually. This contributes significantly to the transportation of 40% of the UK’s non-EU trade by value, facilitated through aircraft.
- The economic advantages originating from UK airlines are projected to grow by 2050, with an expected output of £111 billion and a Gross Value Added (GVA) of £41 billion.
In addition to the substantial economic advantages associated with the expansion of the airline sector in the UK, the report underscores the importance of fostering a competitive aviation landscape within an ever-expanding global market.
This is particularly pertinent as many nations are backing their domestic aviation sectors to address the expenses of essential decarbonization efforts.
Should the percentage of passengers transported by UK-based airlines decline by 10% by 2050, the UK could experience the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and approximately £5 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA), which would otherwise contribute to the welfare of local communities.
Key Leaders Remarks
Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, commented,
“With the peak of summer travel upon us, this report vividly demonstrates the immense worth that airlines headquartered in the UK contribute, benefitting not only leisure travelers but also British businesses and enterprises engaged in international trade. It underscores the significance of maintaining the UK’s competitiveness as a prime location for establishing and expanding airlines. Equally crucial is the effective collaboration between the government and our industry on our journey towards achieving net-zero emissions.”
Baroness Vere, the Aviation Minister, stated, “This report acknowledges the UK’s prominent position as a worldwide frontrunner in aviation connectivity and advancements, bolstering employment and enterprises nationwide.
“The government remains dedicated to collaborating closely with UK airlines and the broader aviation sector to capitalize on the potential benefits of decarbonizing aviation. We are actively engaged in initiatives like the Jet Zero Council and have allocated funding, including £180 million, to foster the growth of the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in the UK.”Baroness Vere, UK Aviation Minister
Top 3 UK Airlines CEOs
Johan Lundgren, the CEO of easyJet, remarked, “The undeniable value of airlines like easyJet, boasting 178 aircraft based in the UK, is abundantly evident. Our role extends beyond facilitating global trade for the UK and welcoming visitors; it also encompasses enabling hardworking families to reunite with loved ones, conduct business, and enjoy well-deserved vacations across Europe.
“The UK stands as easyJet’s largest market, with over half of our passengers flying to and from UK airports, and more than 10,000 individuals employed across the nation. Our commitment to the UK is exemplified by ongoing investments, such as the upcoming opening of a new three-aircraft base in Birmingham next year. This endeavor not only results in approximately 100 direct jobs but also numerous indirect roles, underscoring our confidence in the enduring demand for travel and connectivity in the UK.Johan Lundgren, the CEO of easyJet
“Collaborative efforts to decarbonize aviation are substantial, and the entire sector is joining forces. Government support and effective policies are crucial to ensure a sustainable future, allowing us to sustain these benefits for the UK economy and society,” added Johan Lundgren.
Sean Doyle, the Chairman and CEO of British Airways, stated, “Amidst our busiest summer travel season since 2019, this report illuminates the invaluable contribution of UK airlines to our economy and underscores the crucial role that airline connectivity plays in our island nation. With a fleet of over 250 aircraft based in the UK, British Airways plays a uniquely significant part in fostering employment and prosperity driven by aviation.
“While it’s essential for all stakeholders to collaborate in maintaining the competitiveness of the aviation industry, sustainability must remain at the forefront of our efforts. We must work in tandem with both the industry and the government to steer our industry towards effective decarbonization. This involves making the UK an appealing hub for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) development and implementing the necessary policy support to foster local SAF production. This commitment paves the way for a more sustainable future for the aviation sector.”Sean Doyle, the Chairman and CEO of British Airways
Shai Weiss, the CEO of Virgin Atlantic, emphasized, “UK airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, play a pivotal role in establishing essential connections and facilitating trade that generates crucial employment opportunities and contributes to economic advancement.”
“It is imperative that the UK Government takes proactive measures and recognizes the significance of UK aviation as a strategic asset. This entails crafting policies that foster a thriving and globally competitive aviation sector, which includes the establishment of an economically viable hub airport at London Heathrow. Leadership in decarbonization requires a profound collaboration between the industry and the government to create the conducive environment for widespread access to Sustainable Aviation Fuel. This stands as one of the most effective tools to realize our net zero 2050 objectives and unlock sustainable growth.”Shai Weiss, the CEO of Virgin Atlantic
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