London City Airport
HACAN EAST reports: CEO Robert Sinclair told the meeting that in 2020 passenger numbers were down by 82% (by 90% if you exclude the first 3 months of the year) and over the year flights were down by 77%. The airport has had ‘virtually no revenue’ coming in for the last 12 months. He said, though, there are signs since the Government set out its Road Map out of lockdown of bookings picking up, particularly for the second half of 2021. This is leisure rather than business.
We heard that London City is keen to resume work on the modernisation of its flight paths. You’ll recall it did work on the design principles on which the new flight paths should be based (we were involved in those discussions). The CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) has approved the work it did then which it needed to do before it could move on to the second stage which is developing options. This is the work it is keen to start but, as with all airports, is awaiting Government funding to enable it to do so. The funding has been promised in principle, but no money has been forthcoming so far.
The airport has got involved, along with some other airports including Heathrow, in a Government initiative to develop electric planes but things appear to be at an early stage.
Covid-19 has grounded air traffic. The aviation industry itself expects to be operating at a lower capacity over the next few years. This Paper discusses how long-term security for workers and affected communities can be guaranteed, without returning to business as before.
With the looming climate breakdown, automation, digitalisation and likely climate induced pandemics, we need to be realistic: aviation and tourism will change – and they will do so either by design or by disaster. They will transition either with or without taking into account workers’ interests.
This Discussion Paper, published by the Stay Grounded Network and the UK Trade Union PCS in February 2021, is a result of a collective writing process by people active in the climate justice movement, workers in the aviation sector, trade unionists, indigenous communities and academics from around the world. It aims to spark debates and encourage concrete transition plans by states, workers and companies.