A sustained drop in the number of passengers using Manchester airport will have a disproportionate impact on Warrington’s economy according to Warrington South MP Andy Carter.
Speaking in a debate in Parliament, Andy highlighted the critical need for Government support for both the airport and wider aviation sector as the process of opening up the country’s travel corridors continues. Passenger levels travelling through Manchester have dropped to historic lows, between 1 and 4% of the level seen within the same period last year, meaning the airport has reduced it’s workforce as it battles to reduce its fixed operating costs such as business rates and air traffic control.
The Warrington South MP called on Aviation Minster Kelly Tollhurst MP to look beyond COVID when making decisions about the future of the aviation industry to help it ‘build back better’.
Speaking about the future of the airport, Andy said:
Manchester’s role as a northern hub airport, its position as the most used airport in the north, and the fact that it is the only airport outside London that has two full-length runways mean that it really does have a critical role for our northern economy, and we take real pride in that facility.
Warrington’s close proximity means that many people who work at the airport live in this area, both flight crew and staff who work on the ground such as border force, air traffic control and baggage, so the impact on aviation will be widely felt in our shops, café’s and restaurants.
The Government recently announced that passengers would not have to self-isolate on arrival from around 60 destinations from across the world known as “travel corridors”. The changes will come into place from the 10th July and Manchester Airport is set to be fully reopened by July 15. The full list of 50 countries with travel corridors in place is available from the Government website.
But costs are still hitting the aviation sector, and Andy believes the Government could potentially do more:
This is an industry that contributes billions of pounds to our local economy and supports thousands of jobs, and it is growing. The wider trickle down benefits are enormous across a wide area.
The centrepiece of the £1 billion Manchester airport transformation programme, the extension of terminal 2, has been delayed—put on hold—because of what has happened over the past three months. It is an oven-ready project that has been privately funded, for world-class infrastructure that relies on a rapid and strong economy to enable it to deliver the economic benefits to the north and to level up.
Restarting the aviation sector is a vital part of the UK’s economic recovery. Aviation, the facilities that it supports and the travel industry are crucial to the economic growth of the region, to the north, to the northern powerhouse and to Warrington, and I urge the Government to take full steps to ensure that we can grow our sector as much as possible.