Airport bosses warn that aviation industry may not recover for three years

Watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Elodie Harper

Airport bosses in the Anglia region say the impact of the coronavirus have been catastrophic for the aviation industry.

They are calling on the government for more clarity and consistency, as well as more financial help to help them cope with the loss of business.

Passenger numbers have dropped to levels not seen since the 1960s with airports only handling about 5 per cent of the business they did this time last year.

The crisis has put thousands of jobs on the line both at the regions' airports and in their supply chain.

Luton Airport has proposed making almost a third of its directly employed staff redundant.

Demand is down 98 percent on this time last year. 

In the past three months the airport has had 110 thousand passengers - last year it was 4.8 million.

In the Commons today, Luton's MP Sarah Owen (Lab) raised the issue.

She said: "I've asked ministers multiple times why it is we have not yet seen a specific package of support for the aviation industry and have got general answers about general measures which clearly aren't working as we see EasyJet already started consulting on 4,500 job losses, thousands of jobs in Luton and our council are reliant on income from Luton airport, if the governments of France and Germany are protecting their aviation workers, why isn't this government."

Easyjet plane at Southend Airport Credit: ITV Anglia

The government say they are working closely with the sector and considering the situation of the individual firms. But job losses are already hurting people.

Steve from Bishop's Stortford worked as a fleet manager for a car hire company at Stansted Airport.

He says he thought he had a job for life, but he was made redundant after the number of cars coming in went from 400 to 100.

Easyjet is in consultations about closing its base at Southend Airport. 

Passengers flying on holiday today were doing so with some trepidation.

The airport's Chief Executive Glyn Jones says passengers need to feel safe for demand to return and they are trying to tackle that themselves, but that the government needs to be more consistent in its advice.

He said: "It is immeasurably more difficult than anything we have ever dealt with before and it really does need clarity from government, and consistency from government, in order to give consumers the confidence to come back. In the end this is all about demand"

Industry bosses say the aviation industry could take three years to recover.