Political inaction on aviation will lead to higher levels of joblessness in areas like west London and the Thames Valley

Political inaction on aviation during the Covid-19 crisis will lead to higher levels of joblessness in areas like west London and the Thames Valley, where Heathrow airport supports upwards of 150,000 jobs, says Back Heathrow today.

Furthermore, other towns, cities and regions with airports could see them left with mass unemployment too, for years to come.


Parmjit Dhanda, Executive Director of Back Heathrow warns that the government is running out of time to formulate a plan for aviation to save communities in west London from a generation of long-term unemployment.

Mr Dhanda said: “West London has upwards of 150,000 jobs that depend on Heathrow airport. They contribute over £6bn to the economy, but due to government’s inaction their jobs are in greater peril. We have already seen thousands of jobs slashed by airlines and related industries around the country. West London is particularly vulnerable because it is home to Heathrow, one of the country’s biggest generators of jobs.

“However, the government has no plan to restore confidence in aviation through nationally adopted health tests for Coronavirus at airports. Heathrow has taken its own initiative to introduce thermal imaging tests, in the absence of government action. The government has no plan to save jobs when airlines and airports are reeling, causing immense strain on the wider supply chain. It needs to act or west London, the Thames Valley and other areas dependent on airport jobs will become employment waste grounds.”

Back Heathrow’s call for action comes in a week when British Airways has said it will axe 12,000 jobs and Virgin Airlines a further 3,000. Regional airports across the UK are suffering. Some, like Newquay and Teesside, have shut to all but the emergency services, whilst others have reduced hours of operation and severely curtailed flights. Glasgow Airport has even repurposed its long-stay car park to host a drive-through mobile Coronavirus testing centre.

It’s not just airlines and the airports that are suffering. Thousands of local businesses that rely upon them for work are hurting too – caterers, taxi drivers, cargo handlers, transport and construction workers, energy suppliers, security staff, cleaners and many others.

Back Heathrow would like to see the government urgently produce:

  • Consistent regulations for Coronavirus testing at all UK airports, as part of consistent global standards to restore public confidence
  • A plan to protect airlines from collapse
  • A long-term plan for UK aviation.

Ealing petition for free vote on Heathrow exceeds 2,000

A local petition, urging Ealing Council to hold a ‘free vote’ on whether the borough will back Heathrow expansion has reached over 2,000 signatories.

But the campaign has decided not to present the petition to full council in April so Ealing’s officers and councillors can focus on the crucial task of fighting Covid 19.

The petition, backed by local groups including the Indian Workers’ Association and trade unions Unite and GMB was due to be presented to the April meeting of the council.

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Reacting to today’s Budget, Back Heathrow Executive Director, Parmjit Dhanda said: “The Chancellor delivered his budget to Parliament today and talked about the need for economic growth.

“But if he is to deliver on his plan to control public borrowing and deliver economic growth, he needs to get on and build the new runway at Heathrow airport.”

“Plans for a new runway have been kicking around in Parliament for 17 years now. If the Chancellor is serious about delivering jobs and economic growth, it’s high time he coined his own phrase to finally 'Get Heathrow Done'.

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Back Heathrow, the 100,000 strong community campaign that supports a new runway for Heathrow says the Court of Appeal ruling that expansion was unlawful because it did not take climate commitments into account was hugely disappointing to local communities.

Local polling by Populus has shown that for many years in 16 of 18 constituencies around the airport more people support than oppose expansion.

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New industry and government targets boost Heathrow expansion

Back Heathrow has welcomed an announcement by the Sustainable Aviation Coalition which commits airports and airlines to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Back Heathrow also welcomed government’s decision to bring forward the phasing out of petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles to 2035.

Parmjit Dhanda, executive director of Back Heathrow said: “We know that vehicle traffic emissions are a major contributor to pollution in London, way more so than aviation, so this is welcome news.

“The announcement by airlines and airports, including Heathrow to cut emissions to net zero by 2050 is a huge step forward too. We know more West Londoners support than oppose Heathrow expansion because of new jobs and an economic boost.

“These two announcements will help to ensure a new runway is built whilst tackling noise, improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions.”

The coalition’s announcement is an important step forward for the expansion project. It shows that with smarter airport operations, modernised airspace, new cleaner, efficient aircraft and sustainable fuels, we can have airport development – and meet the strict targets on emissions set by government and international regulators.

The airport’s plans to further offset carbon emissions through investment in peatland restoration and tree planting schemes are also an important part of its decarbonisation roadmap.


All main parties participate in Back Heathrow Hounslow hustings

Lively debate was the order of the evening at a packed general election hustings event in Hounslow organised by Back Heathrow, the campaign that represents over 100,000 supporters of a new runway.

The main subject for the event was the proposed new runway at Heathrow airport. Discussion throughout the evening was robust and respectful across the party divides. The candidates were left in no doubt of the importance of jobs, the economy and the environment to the audience.

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Over 600 requests to back Heathrow expansion sent to Brent Labour candidates

Over 600 Back Heathrow campaign postcards from constituents have been sent to Brent Labour General Election candidates Dawn Butler and Barry Gardiner. The campaign card urges them both to back a new runway at Heathrow airport. 

The postcard says hub airports like Heathrow are a force for good and are part of the solution to tackling carbon – through cleaner and quieter aircraft and targets for carbon reduction enshrined in law.

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Over 400 requests to back Heathrow expansion sent to Philip Hammond

Over 400 Back Heathrow campaign postcards have been sent to Philip Hammond MP for Runnymede and Weybridge. The campaign card urges MPs, including in Mr Hammond’s constituency and others adjacent to the airport, to back a new runway at Heathrow airport.

Constituents, Bernard Holcroft and John Gurney presented over 400 postcards to Mr Hammond’s office in the House of Commons last week.

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Britain’s biggest unions and Back Heathrow say: time to get on and build Heathrow's new runway

Speaking on the eve of the Appeal Court proceedings at the Royal Courts of Justice, Back Heathrow and trade unions have sent out a message that Heathrow expansion is not a choice between the environment and jobs – we can have both.

Parmjit Dhanda, Executive Director, Back Heathrow said: "Back Heathrow represents over 100,000 local people who want to see the jobs, apprenticeships and economic benefits of expansion, but not at any cost. We want to see a new runway delivered with tight regulations that will mitigate noise, protect air quality and cut carbon. That will be sealed in law.”

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Time for Hounslow to vote for Heathrow expansion says former mayor

A former mayor of Hounslow, Ajmer Dhillon has backed residents of Hounslow who sent a strong message on Heathrow expansion to their local council last month.

It was a timely reminder from Back Heathrow supporters that support for a new runway at Heathrow airport is stronger than ever as the UK heads for an autumn general election.

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