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#traveldayofaction: Stansted Airport joins aviation industry protest at Government's handling of international travel

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Stansted Airport workers are taking part in a nationwide protest on Wednesday (June 23) at the Government's handling of international travel.

They and colleagues at owner Manchester Airports Group's (MAG) other bases, at Manchester and East Midlands, are using social media to mark every single flight that would have taken off on June 23, 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic decimated passenger numbers.

On Wednesday, 124 aircraft will depart the three gateways – 47 at Manchester, six at East Midlands and 71 at Stansted – compared with 651 pre-coronavirus: Manchester 319, East Midlands 60 and Stansted 272.

Stansted Airport staff protest (48502253)
Stansted Airport staff protest (48502253)

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

Colleagues at all three airports are supporting the national day of action – co-ordinated by aviation and travel industry trade bodies – to protest against the lack of support from the Government on the reopening of international travel.

They have been photographed holding placards with the campaign's hashtag #traveldayofaction, which 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.

Stansted Airport staff protest (48502250)
Stansted Airport staff protest (48502250)

Stansted Airport staff are also joining a march on Westminster with others from across the industry.

MAG chief executive Charlie Cornish said: "Aviation has been the sector hardest hit by the pandemic, yet it appears Government does not appreciate its value to the economy or trust the system it put in place to enable international travel to resume.

"Despite holding back the recovery of an industry that supports more than 1 million jobs and generates more than £2 billion 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 ignoring clear evidence that travel to many popular destinations could be opened up.

"The industry has been left with no option but to challenge the legality of this lack of transparency and to protest against the stifling of our recovery through this day of action."

MAG has launched a legal challenge, supported by major airlines, against the Government's lack of transparency when making decisions about the countries categorised as red, amber or green in its international travel traffic light system.

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