Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell has urged the Government to back the aviation sector and secure a sustainable future for Newcastle International Airport in her constituency.

During a debate in Parliament today, Catherine highlighted that Newcastle International Airport is a “strategic asset for the North East that is central to our future economic growth”, with the airport supporting many regional jobs on site and in the supply chain, as well as being a vital link for businesses.

However, she warned that the aviation sector is essentially the only part of the economy that will still see continued restrictions after 19th July under the Government’s plans and called for an urgent package of support to help with the high fixed costs airports continue to face despite the collapse in passenger numbers.

She went on to say that without a continuation of the Job Retention Scheme for aviation we could see “significant redundancies” become a “stark reality for many in Newcastle, where Newcastle Airport is a significant local employer”. 57% of passenger air transport workers are currently on furlough.

The MP also called on the Government to follow European countries in “linking the need for ongoing support to our wider goals as a country on climate change and sustainability”.

Catherine concluded her speech by stating that “the North East needs Newcastle Airport to thrive, to increase global connectivity and drive our region’s growth and development. So, what we need from the Government now is a clear roadmap for the safe resumption of international travel, and particularly if aviation is to remain in restrictions, we urgently need the long overdue Aviation Recovery Plan alongside a comprehensive package of sector-specific support”.