South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s transport spokesperson Colin Smyth has accused the Scottish Government of failing the aviation industry, after SNP MSPs refused to back his motion in the Scottish Parliament which called on ministers to secure a sustainable post-Covid future for a sector that has been thrown into crisis by the pandemic.
The Scottish Labour debate, which took place in Holyrood on Wednesday and was led by Colin Smyth, also urged the Scottish Government to introduce a comprehensive system for testing air passengers on arrival, as well as direct support to the sector, in order to save thousands of jobs in the aviation sector.
However, in failing to back the motion, the local MSP said the Scottish Government has completely failed the aviation industry, which employs hundreds of people across the south of Scotland.
Colin Smyth said: “It is deeply disappointing that the Scottish Parliament, including the SNP, failed to back Scotland’s aviation sector and the workers it employs.
“Make no mistake, the challenges that our aviation sector faces are substantial and without action thousands of jobs are at risk.
“The aviation sector deserves a Scottish Government that will stand up for it and its workers: the SNP failed to do so. The workers employed in the sector deserve so much better.
“Scottish Labour will continue to fight for the future of our aviation sector and will do all it can to retain and protect the thousands of jobs that the sector sustains.”
The Fraser of Allander Institute has predicted that proposed cuts in the Scottish civil aviation and aerospace engineering sectors may cause the loss of around 5,000 jobs in total in Scotland.
Colin Smyth added: “Scotland’s aviation sector is among the industries hit the hardest by Covid-19, with many jobs already lost – and up to around 5,000 now at risk. This will have a knock-on effect on our tourism sector in the short and long terms, and we simply can’t afford to stand by.
“I have been working with the aviation sector and the relevant Trade Unions to agree on a specific package of support for the industry, which was completely ignored in parliament.
“This pandemic is not going away any time soon and it will take serious action to ensure our aviation sector doesn’t implode any further.”