1 JUNE 2020
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A new lobby grouping has been created called The Future of Aviation Group, chaired by Henry Smith MP (Conservative – Crawley).
With the support of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), Airlines UK, The Air League, IATA (International Air Transport Association) and other industry organisations it seeks to highlight the importance of a vibrant aviation sector to consumers, businesses and the overall UK economy.
The Group is urging ministers to introduce measures to support the recovery of the UK’s aviation sector and echos the Air League’s call earlier this week for the Government and MPs to spearhead a national awareness campaign to show that the UK is open for business through aviation.
Henry Smith said: “It is of course right that public health concerns remain the Government’s most urgent priority, but the level of support from MPs from all sides and from all regions reflects the pressing need for the Government to provide much more support to our aviation sector, given that aviation is one of the sectors worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Aviation will be vital to our long-term economic recovery at national and local levels and it is high time that Government avoid any further delay and introduce financial measures that support the aviation industry; the businesses, employees and the communities who depend on it.
“We cannot allow Britain’s economic and social recovery to be held back through a failure to support our aviation industry. As a global, island trading nation the consequences of continuing inaction are unthinkable.”
The Group has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, setting out several urgent questions about the Government’s actions to date together with demands for further urgent policy intervention.
The letter to the Secretary of State raises several points, including:
How often will the 14-day quarantine period be reviewed, and will Government prioritise ‘air bridges’ to restart safe travel to and from low risk countries?
What discussions have been held at an international level to find a Common International Standard for aviation health protocols to build consumer confidence?
What discussions have been held with local authorities and airport representatives regarding central Government support for business rates relief?
What consideration has been given to financial measures to support the restart of domestic aviation and to protect vital regional routes?
What additional support can be made available to local authorities and the aviation supply chain until passenger numbers increase?
What assessment has been made of the importance of aviation to the nation’s economic recovery?
What assessment has been made of the likely timescale of the recovery of businesses in the tourism sector who are reliant on international tourism?
What assessment has been made of the opportunity to support low carbon aviation technologies as a way to support UK economic recovery and help aviation deliver its net zero commitment?
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
andrew sharp, St Albans UK
Nice to see that last point in there, looking rather like a sop to the Green lobby. How about another? "What assessment has been made of the value people place on a clean sky, bearing in mind Climate Change commitments and the fact that half the population never fly?"