Airline and airport operators have urged the Government to support the industry to help it emerge from the coronavirus crisis intact and drive a post-Brexit UK economy.
In a joint statement ADS (the trade organisation representing the aerospace, defence, security and space industries in the UK), Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association have warned that the UK is in danger of lagging behind global rivals, and calls for measures to ensure the industry’s viability.
It said that, as a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, UK airlines have grounded hundreds of aircraft and UK airports are operating at minimal capacity.
Requests for ticket refunds are outnumbering new flight bookings, the tourism industry lies dormant as visitors rightly stay at home and aerospace manufacturing faces challenges to sustain jobs and cashflow for the duration of this crisis.
Unfortunately, these dramatic impacts of COVID-19 on the sector are likely only the start, the joint statement said. Passenger demand is likely to return only slowly, as consumers regain their confidence to travel and travel restrictions are lifted.
That is why ADS, Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association are jointly calling for government to extend support schemes before companies face difficult decisions affecting their workforces.
They say making sure the aviation and aerospace sectors can quickly and fully recover when restrictions are lifted will support the wider recovery in UK trade that is vital to limiting the economic cost of the COVID-19 crisis.
Not only are 1.6 million jobs and £92bn in GDP dependent on aviation, aerospace and the tourism sectors, aviation is also one of the engines of the UK economy, enabling other businesses to reach customers, trade goods and build new relationships.