Amid ongoing travel restrictions, Gatwick Airport (LGW), the second largest airport in London, is on the way to receive up to £8 million in government support.

On January 29, 2021, the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme, aimed at helping to cover losses caused by the pandemic, opened for applications. The program would help Gatwick Airport and other commercial airports across the United Kingdom to keep paying airport staff, for airfield operations and contracted maintenance services.

“We welcome any government support, especially given the significant financial losses we have experienced during this ongoing crisis,” a Gatwick Airport spokesperson told AeroTime News. “UK airports urgently need a more comprehensive package of support and they need this soon to help them protect jobs and maintain the critical infrastructure that the British economy relies so heavily on.”

On January 18, 2021, the UK’s Aviation Minister announced the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme, aimed at helping country’s airports to reduce their costs. The decision came immediately after the UK's Airport Operators Association (AOA) called for government support, as the UK went into strict lockdown and banned most international travel.

“A thriving aviation industry has been central to the success of this country and while we recognise the testing conditions airports are currently facing as a result of the pandemic, I believe that the sector will be ready to bounce back once restrictions are lifted,” said the UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

UK flight volumes are currently around 80% lower compared to the same period in 2019. Across Europe, air traffic numbers are more than 60% lower than compared to pre-crisis levels. Britain’s aviation sector already suffered a loss of more than 45,000 jobs, with more under threat, warned trade groups. 

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Due to recently tightened COVID-19 rules, the UK government announced that it would aid airports. Other European airports have already received similar support.