24 AUGUST 2020
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The UK airline industry is in crisis, its leaders working behind closed doors, and not visible.
The Government turns away, seemingly ignoring the near fatal collapse of Britain’s airlines and the consequences to the UK economy. Ministerial action is needed now!
Business Travel News would like to put forward two therapies which will not cure the problems, but will at least send out the right messages.
As a well-known brand continues to say ‘every little helps’.
Firstly, cancel Air Passenger Duty (APD) on a temporary basis. Yes, this has been vigorously lobbied by various groups at Whitehall, but with no success. See BTN 6 July.
It is far from the solution on how to get the passengers moving through the airports but what it does is show globally that this Government is very aware of the value of the airports, and its user airlines, UK-registered and international. It demonstrates that we are open for business, are dealing with Covid-19 in an incisive manner and welcoming guests. This needs to get out globally. Heathrow is ready to take up guard duty (as noted in this issue) and the other gateways will follow.
Our second suggestion is for the leaders of our airlines and airports to fly, where they can, and speak up for the country, act as ambassadors and send the message that Britain is not a closed shop. Once again this is a world-wide memo. For the British air transport bosses to be seen at other world-wide centres must be good news. The Transport Minister and CAA chairman should join them, and if the airlines cannot agree on which carrier to use the RAF’s Airbus A330 Voyager aircraft needs to be made available. Bring the media too.
But first the Transport Secretary and the Aviation Minister need to get to the London airports, show a face, take a flight and then do the same at the other end.
These are catastrophic times. Exceptional action is needed. Now!
See also John Holland-Kaye Live – in this week's BTN.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Mike Pitman, Jersey
Two things: were APD truly being used solely for green purposes then it would have stayed low. It is a useful cash cow for your government. Secondly until the UK populations comes out of hiding and goes back to work, then the countrt is effectively closed. Who would risk coming to the UK when contradictory advice is being put out on a daily basis.
William Bell, Chester
APD was introduced in 2007 to cut aircraft carbon dioxide emissions. Since there is now no flying the Government can justify its removal.
Julian Adams, London
I doubt if cancelling APD will make any difference, but it’s a gesture. Does the Government care?
John Smith, Kilburn - London
APD yes. Government should have done ages ago. VIP trips no go. If they had gone to Croatia last week it would have been a waste of time. But LCY to Dundee why not. Or Heathrow to Edinburgh.