UNION bosses have warned that thousands of jobs are "hanging by a thread" at Stansted Airport.

Unite claims huge numbers of jobs could be "swept away" without urgent action by central government to stabilise the aviation sector.

Stansted is the biggest employer in the east of England, with 1,765 staff directly employed by the airport and more than 10,200 people working for nearly 200 companies based there.

They include aircrew, ground staff, engineers and retail, transport and other roles.

Unite says new research commissioned by the union reveals Stansted airport is "critical" to the region's economic welfare.

It has produced a blueprint of how it says the Government should intervene across the aviation sector, including airlines and airports, to protect the jobs and conditions of workers.

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Unite regional officer Mark Barter said: "Airports are hives of economic activity. Stansted is the biggest single site employer in eastern England.

"It supports the jobs and livelihoods of thousands, from air crew to taxi drivers to shop staff.

"If these jobs go then a huge economic hole will open up right across eastern England and it could take decades to recover.

"Overnight, airports were effectively shutdown by the Government to protect the public's health, but we are now pleading with ministers to protect our area's long-term economic security.

"We are not asking for a give-away, but for loans that will be repaid when the sector is back on its feet, and we have support for this from across the political spectrum.

"But the clock is ticking. It is more than two months since the Chancellor promised that a support package would be forthcoming for aviation, but he has yet to deliver.

We are not asking for a give-away, but for loans that will be repaid when the sector is back on its feet, and we have support for this from across the political spectrum

"The communities that rely on Stansted for jobs and their prosperity cannot wait much longer.

“Given flight schedules are looking to resume in some capacity next month and with business being kept in the dark officially about having to part fund furloughed workers, Unite is expecting announcements on job losses almost imminently.

"Therefore it’s absolutely vital that the Government steps up quickly to give assurances to the aviation industry in order to avert an economic and social disaster for our region.”

Earlier this week, bosses at Stansted Airport hit out at the Government’s travel quarantine plans and called for a “a risk-based approach” instead.

Gazette: Stansted Airport.

Group chief executive officer Charlie Cornish said: “For as long as it lasts, a blanket quarantine policy will be a brick wall to the recovery of the UK aviation and tourism industries, with huge consequences for UK jobs and GDP.

"By enabling people to travel between the UK and low-risk countries, the aviation industry is able to help lead the UK economy out of this crisis, just as it has in previous recessions.

“But in order for this to happen, the Government must work quickly to create a smart and targeted approach that recognises that many countries are already low-risk."