Open letter sent to UK Chancellor calling for COVID-19 aviation support
Almost 40 Members of Parliament have written to the Chancellor calling for more support for the UK aviation industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an open letter created by the Airport Operators Association (AOA) and Airlines UK, almost 40 cross-party Members of Parliament have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, calling for more support for the UK aviation industry to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The letter stresses that, whilst welcome, the measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry, announced thus far by Sunak to support the UK economy, “will not be enough for aviation and you have indicated that further industry-wide measures will be considered to both support the sector through the crisis, and enable its recovery.”
Continuing, the letter states: “Airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, travel retailers and ground handlers have made clear to government the support they need. We believe the government should review these measures urgently, to safeguard jobs and the UK’s international competitiveness as an aviation hub. This should include liquidity support where necessary, cost alleviations – including on a range of taxes and industry charges, regulatory easements and the adaptation of the Job Retention Scheme to take account of the unique aviation context. The industry, meanwhile, stands ready to work in partnership with government by putting in place their own measures to assist with the effort.”
Industry responses to COVID-19 support
Airport Operators Association and Airlines UK
Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, and Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said: “Aviation is one of the key enablers of the UK economy – without it we cannot trade or visit family and friends or do business – and more than a million people are employed in the sector. Now we are seeing airports start to close their doors and revenue – for both airlines and airports – fall to practically zero. Yet, we need a healthy aviation industry to support the UK’s recovery from the pandemic. We’ve put countless cross-industry ideas on the table to help aviation through this, and the Chancellor said in his letter he was open to discussing them, yet no discussion has yet taken place. We are now entering the danger zone, and we urge government to change tack and start to engage on a sector-wide basis before it’s too late.”
Robert Goodwill, former Aviation Minister
“It’s vital that, when our battered and bruised economy emerges from this COVID-19 nightmare, that we have an aviation sector that will be in a position to play its part in restoring the jobs and connectivity that the UK relies on in so many ways. This means ensuring that airlines, airports, aerospace engineering companies and the travel sector are given the ‘life support’ required to survive this whirlwind in the short term to secure the industry’s long-term future.”
Paul Maynard, former Aviation Minister
“At a time of unprecedented pressures for government, many sectors are clamouring for help. Our airlines and airports will be an essential part of our recovery, however, so if shareholders and investors do their bit in standing behind their airlines or airports, I really hope government can consider how to support the sector’s resilience as a whole.”