Government Measures Needed for UK Aviation Industry

Karen Dee, the Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), outlines measures the UK Government will need to take in order to ensure the airport industry will recover after the impact of COVID-19.

Government Measures Needed for UK Aviation to Remain a Strong and Vibrant Industry
Following her appearance at the Transport Select Committee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association Karen Dee said:

“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 air fares 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 Minister to put these measures in place.”

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