UK’s aviation industry pleads for help

Shutterstock / Matthew Ashmore

In a letter to the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britain’s airlines, airports and aviation manufacturers asked for immediate financial support.

On January 20, 2021, in light of the new travel bans, representatives from Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association (AOA) and the UK aerospace trade body ADS asked for governmental support  to “protect companies from the threat to their survival.” 

In a letter to United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the three organizations said the lockdown rules, travel bans and mandatory testing put roadblocks for the industry’s recovery. ADS, Airlines UK and the AOA called for an Aviation and Aerospace Recovery Plan that would provide short-term financial relief and a long-term scheme for a gradual recovery.

“To ensure airports are in fighting condition to support the UK’s economic recovery, the Government must urgently set out the long-promised Aviation Recovery Package. Crucially, with travel bans in place for UK travelers across the globe – including now the EU, new and existing measures must be in place until there is a sustained restart of air traffic,” said AOA Chief Executive Karen Dee.

The Recovery Plan would include temporary relief from business taxes and regulatory charges, additional financial support, access to funds for the aerospace supply chain, a more efficient traveler testing system and increased support for Sustainable Aviation Fuels.

“Ultimately, if we cannot re-open travel the future of UK aviation will be bleak indeed but we’re hopeful the Government will step in and recognize its importance and contribution to the UK, so we can continue delivering for passengers,” said Airlines UK Chief Executive Tim Alderslade.

On January 21, 2021, a group of Members of Parliament (MP) backed the call for the government to provide additional financial relief. In the letter, MPs also asked for a plan to allow aviation to gradually come out of the travel restrictions.

On January 18, 2021, as the UK went into strict lockdown and banned most international travel, AOA called for immediate government support for UK airports. Soon after, the UK’s Aviation Minister announced a financial aid scheme for UK airports.

UK flight volumes are currently around 80% lower than 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 the trade groups. 


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