Saturday, 9 May 2020

New government measures are needed for the UK Aviation industry to remain strong says Airport Operators Association

Photo Stansted Airport 
New government measures are needed for the UK Aviation industry to remain strong says Airport Operators Association Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association Karen Dee, who recently appeared in front of a Transport Select Committee. 

“The recent British Airways and Virgin Atlantic announcements underline the massive impact COVID-19 is having on the aviation sector. The UK needs a strong, vibrant airline and airport sector that is able to compete domestically and internationally to deliver the routes and accessible airfares that passengers and businesses rely on.

“As I outlined to the Transport Select Committee today, for UK aviation to recover we need the Government to take a number of steps:

Airports need clear public health measures, based on medical advice, that ensure passenger safety and wellbeing while facilitating travel.

These should be applied consistently across UK aviation and transport more widely.

The standards should be proportionate, time-limited and as international as possible in their application.

It should be accompanied by Government communications to prepare passengers for what to expect when travelling.

Crucially, the sector must have the ability to deny passengers boarding if they do not comply with the agreed health standards.
 In light of the expected long road to recovery, continued financial support will be necessary to ensure that UK airports can facilitate the restart of the aviation industry. The Government should invest in the future success of the UK’s aviation industry or risk UK aviation falling behind international competitors:

Relief from business rates and continued deferral of other taxes.

Establishment of route development funds or specific funding measures aimed at restarting regional and domestic air connectivity.

Reform of aviation taxes, including a temporary suspension of APD.

The Job Retention Scheme should be tapered or phased out, in order to retain staff needed for when the recovery picks up.

On passenger welfare grounds, airside retail and food & drink outlets should be exempt from the general restrictions applied to high-street venues as soon as traffic returns.

“We look forward to the Committee’s continuing scrutiny of Government and working with the Minister to put these measures in place.”

Founded in 1934, The Airport Operators Association is the national voice of UK airports. It is a trade association representing the interests of the UK Airport's industry.  

The AOA’s members include over 50 airports and more than 150 Associate Members, made up of companies representing a wide range of suppliers in the aviation industry. Working on behalf of these members, the AOA’s mission is to influence governments, regulators and opinion formers at national and international level, in order to secure the policy outcomes that will deliver its vision. This includes playing a leading role in security, economic development, operations and safety and environmental sustainability issues.

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