AOA Airport Recovery Plan Shows Urgent Need for Government Action
The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has published its Airport Recovery Plan, based on a report commissioned from business consultancy Steer.
With the pandemic having taken a turn for the worse and governments everywhere taking steps to manage the crisis, the outlook for aviation in 2021 is deteriorating. Air travel is currently effectively closed by the UK and devolved governments, so the restart that is necessary for the industry to survive has been postponed at best, with a real prospect that 2021 is not materially better than disastrous 2020.
“2020 was a devastating year and the start of 2021 has so far dashed airports’ hopes that this year will be significantly better. This summer must be a success for aviation if airports are to survive in the coming years. A further delay in airports’ recovery, leaves the UK’s economic recovery at risk and the UK Government’s levelling-up and global Britain agenda in tatters.
“A comprehensive Aviation Recovery Package is needed to see airports through the immediate government-ordered shut-down of aviation. This must include targeted financial support as well as a clear pathway to re-start across the four UK nations by easing travel restrictions when it is safe to do so, including through testing. The UK and devolved governments should then set out measures to boost airports’ chances to make a success of the recovery. We will be competing fiercely with other countries for the return of airlines and routes. We cannot afford the UK to lag behind our global competitors.
“If government fails to step up to the plate, the impacts are clear: people and businesses who depend on aviation for their own success will carry the heaviest burden, particularly outside London and the South East of England.”
Based on analysis before the pandemic worsened, Steer estimated that passenger numbers would not return to 2019 levels any earlier than 2025 in the most optimistic scenario (a gradual easing of travel restrictions in 2021 in line with a successful vaccine roll-out across the globe). So far, increased restrictions in 2021 mean a full traffic recovery by 2025 is an ever-more unlikely prospect.
Summer 2021 must be a success for airlines and airports to survive. Failing to support airports now and set out a clear pathway towards restart of the industry will have major impacts on UK jobs and economic growth, not just in the short term but also up to 2025 and beyond. Steer’s analysis finds that:
With the risk that 2021 could look like 2020, the industry urgently needs additional, aviation-specific support from the UK and devolved governments. In the AOA Airport Recovery Plan, the AOA sets out that in the short-term the Government needs to:
The full AOA Airport Recovery Plan can be found here.
This article was originally published by the Airport Operators Association (AOA).
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