Manchester Airports Group Backs Travel Industry Day Of Action

Manchester Airport

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) will mimic a pre-pandemic day of flying on social media, as part of a nationwide protest at the government’s handling of international travel.

Staff at all three MAG airports – Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands – will post pictures of themselves on Twitter, to mark every single flight that would have taken off on 23rd June 2019.

Today (23rd June 2021), just 124 aircraft will depart the three gateways, (Manchester 47, East Midlands 6 and London Stansted 71) compared with 651 departures (Manchester 319, East Midlands 60 and London Stansted 272) before the pandemic struck.

An estimated 15,900 passengers (Manchester 5,600, East Midlands 600 and London Stansted 9,700) will pass through the airports’ terminals this year, compared with 216,151 passengers (Manchester 104,464, East Midlands 17,667 and London Stansted 94,020) two years earlier.

Colleagues at all three airports are supporting a national day of action – coordinated by aviation and travel industry trade bodies – to protest against the lack of support from government on the re-opening of international travel.

They have been photographed holding placards with the campaign’s hashtag #traveldayofaction, and one airport worker will be posted on the airports’ social media channels at the exact time each flight would have taken off in 2019, along with the relevant flight code.

At the same time, special activity will take place at each airport site:

  • At Manchester Airport, a peaceful protest will take place outside of Terminal Three, organised by the Unite Union
  • At London Stansted Airport, colleagues will join a march on Westminster with others from across the industry
  • At East Midlands Airport a photo opportunity is taking place of passengers getting ready to go on holiday to nowhere, relaxing on sun loungers in the summer clothes

Charlie Cornish, MAG Group CEO, said:

“Aviation has been the sector hardest hit by the pandemic, yet government does not seem to appreciate its economic value or trust its own system for the restart of international travel.

“Despite holding back the recovery of an industry that supports more than 1m jobs, and generates billions of pounds of value, there has been nowhere near the level of support offered to other parts of the economy.

“The whole of the travel industry recognises the need to protect public health and has supported every measure government has required in response to Covid-19.

“However, with so much at stake, it is simply unacceptable that government refuses to explain why it is not opening up travel to many popular destinations.

“Together with airlines, we have been left with no option but to challenge the Government’s lack of transparency, and to protest against the stifling of our recovery through this day of action.”

Trade bodies from across the aviation and travel industries are coming together for the Travel Day of Action (#traveldayofaction) to put pressure on the UK government to support a safe return to international travel in time for the peak summer period.  Further details on the day of action and its objectives can be found here.

The day of action is timed to take place ahead of when the government is expected to discuss and decide on the next steps for international travel.

It comes after MAG launched a legal challenge – supported by a number of major airlines – against the government’s lack of transparency when making decisions about the countries categorised as red, amber or green in its traffic light system.

All parts of the travel industry – every airline, airport, tour operator, travel agent, supplier and partner – are encouraged to get involved and support the activities of the day.

There are a range of activities to take part in the Travel Day of Action including meeting with MPs as part of an organised lobby in Westminster, Edinburgh, or Belfast, or locally in their stores or business premises, or by holding a virtual meeting.

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