aviation industry

Britain’s airlines, airports, aviation manufacturers ask gov’t for help again

Reuters
Britain’s airlines, airports, aviation manufacturers ask gov’t for help again

BRITISH AIRWAYS. A British Airways Boeing 747 G-CIVD leaves London Heathrow Airport on its final flight, the first of 31 jumbo jets to be retired early by the airline due to the coronavirus pandemic, in London, Britain, August 18, 2020.

File photo by John Sibley/Reuters

Help is needed to 'protect companies from the threat to their survival,' says Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association, and the UK aerospace trade body ADS

Britain’s airlines, airports, and aviation manufacturers pleaded for immediate financial support from the government and a longer-term recovery plan after COVID-19 stopped travel and new testing requirements dashed bounce-back hopes.

Three trade bodies said they wrote to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday, January 20, to ask for a package of measures including temporarily suspending business rates and a tax on flying, extra loans for airlines, and access to funds for the aerospace supply chain.

Help was needed to “protect companies from the threat to their survival” posed by the pandemic, and to prevent more jobs being put at risk, said Airlines UK, which represents British Airways, EasyJet, and others, the Airport Operators Association, and the UK aerospace trade body ADS.

Britain’s current lockdowns ban most international travel. Flight volumes in the UK are down 80% compared to 2019 and over 45,000 jobs have already been lost in the sector, with more threatened, the groups said.

New rules Britain introduced on Monday, January 18, which require a negative pre-departure test for travelers plus a period of quarantine on arrival, are a further blow, they warned.

The government needs to plan to reintroduce some quarantine-free travel and a cheaper testing regime to aid the aviation recovery once vaccines are rolled out, they said.

“To achieve a strong overall economic recovery from this crisis the UK must sustain aviation and aerospace industries that connect us to global trading partners and provide vital jobs in every part of the country,” ADS chief executive Paul Everitt said in a statement.

Britain’s government said on Saturday, January 16, it would give financial aid to airports before the end of March.

The country’s aviation industry has repeatedly asked the government for help during the crisis but has to date primarily only benefited from support schemes available to all industries. – Rappler.com