Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Airport boss criticises UK government

Manchester Airports Group MAG owns and operates East Midlands, Manchester and London Stansted Airports

In response to the UK Government' announcement on quarantine measures, the CEO of MAG took a swipe at the decision saying it would be a brick wall to the nation's recovery.

Charlie Cornish is currently consulting with staff and unions at the airport group over staff reductions following on from enforced annual leave, reduced working hours, pay cuts and many of those temporary lay-offs will become permanent.  Current estimations at the groups East Midlands airport is that one-third of staff will lose their jobs completely.  

Cornish doesn't see much help from the government,  "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."

He believes the aviation industry above manufacturing and services, is key to economic recovery,  "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. European countries are starting to open up, and some that are popular with British holidaymakers want to agree two-way arrangements with the UK to enable travel."

Low-risk doesn't mean no risk and Cornish would rather some people contract the life-threatening virus than a short period of quarantine be in place. "A blanket quarantine will seriously jeopardise the long term future of the sector and put tens of thousands of jobs, and billions of pounds of economic value, at risk."

"Government has to take a risk-based approach to quarantine arrangements to enable air travel to restart and to allow British people to enjoy well-earned holidays in safe countries. At the same time, this would help kick start UK tourism and hospitality industries, saving businesses and jobs"  yet at what cost?  How many jobs saved is a life lost to COVID-19 worth?   

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