Covid-19 Update 4
Friday 20th March 2020
Dear AOA Team,
Tonight, the Chancellor announced further measures to support businesses through the current crisis. You can read his statement here. Measures that may benefit AOA Members include an employment retention scheme, which will see HMRC giving grants to cover the wages of people who are not working due to coronavirus shutdowns but who haven’t been made redundant, and deferral of VAT payments. Details on these measures will be released soon.
Most notably, however, the Chancellor did not announce his promised measures to support aviation. Airports have been putting off some of the difficult steps they may have to take to weather the current crisis, pending Government’s promised support, but some will very soon be forced to take those due to Government inaction. We have expressed our frustration to Government today about the slow progress and have this evening written to the Transport Secretary, asking for urgent talks between him and airport CEOs on next steps (copy here). We have also been liaising with the media and you can find a copy of the press release here.
There have been small steps forward. The Department for Transport has been liaising with airports on how to manage aviation security during this difficult time. Meanwhile, the CAA have today published the revised Schemes of Charges (effective from 6 April 2020), but the CAA Board has taken the decision to defer the introduction of the increases until 1 July 2020. The CAA Board will review the position again in June 2020. Lastly, airport workers were included as key workers for whose children schools will remain open.
Separately, following our approach to MPs and Peers yesterday, a number have contacted us with messages of support and have told us they have contacted Ministers to urge them to act swiftly. Next week, the Transport Secretary will be in front of the Transport Select Committee and we will be liaising with members of the Committee to scrutinise the delayed action by his Department. We hope, of course, that by then a package of support will have been announced and we will continue to do our utmost to pressure Government to act.