18 MAY 2020
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Updated government coronavirus advice means that recreational General Aviation (GA) flying is now allowed in England.
In practice this means that only solo flights, or flights where everyone is from the same household, are permitted. Private flights are currently still not allowed in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, where there are different public health and safety requirements.
Since 13 May some sports, in which it is possible to observe social distancing, are permitted. The Government takes the view that recreational general aviation is a permissible recreational sport.
The new rules exclude most training flights but socially-distanced preparation on the ground can take place.
The Government points out that the question of whether any individual airport should open (or reopen) is a business decision for aerodrome operators. They are best placed to decide whether opening is in their best interest, either from a commercial or health and safety standpoint, including their ability to maintain safe socially-distancing consistent with current Public Health England (PHE) guidance.
It is also to be expected that some airfields will require time to implement guidance on making their sites Covid-secure, and that there may therefore be delays to reopening.
Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, has a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) and is the former Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA) and would presumably have had an input into this decision.
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